PDP factions quarrel over choice of candidate

Mr. Eyitayo Jegede

Mr. Eyitayo Jegede

Unless the crisis rocking the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is resolved, its choice of governorship candidate may pose a challenge at the polls.

While the party’s national caretaker committee had insisted that Eyitayo Jegede is its candidate, a court ruling on Friday in Abuja, declared Jimoh Ibrahim as the governorship candidate.

Jegede belongs to the Ahmed-Makarfi-led national caretaker committee, while Ibrahim is a member of the Ali Modu-Sheriff’s camp.

The committee had last week rejected the court ruling.

In a statement by its spokesperson, Dayo Adeyeye, the party said: “The Ruling of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja does not in any way affect the matter of the PDP’s candidacy in the forthcoming governorship election.

“The governorship issue was not the matter before Justice Abang in the suit. The matter before him was in relation to the 2019 General Elections. For the avoidance of doubt, Eyitayo Jegede remains the standard-bearer of the PDP at the election.”

The party’s state chairman, Clement Faboyede, in affirming Jegede’s candidature, said there were some technical irregularities in the court proceedings and judgment.

He alleged that Justice Abang had an “unholy alliance to subvert the will of the people.”

The party urged members and supporters to disregard the verdict, insisting that its governorship candidate can only emerge through a due process, in consonance with the party’s constitution.

He said: “The party believes that its governorship candidate can never be produced through the back door or some unconstitutional procedures.

“The Supreme Court of Nigeria has made it clear that only the National Executive Committee (NEC) of a party could nominate the governorship candidate. The party in the nomination of Jegede did this.

“As such, no high court can invalidate or alter this position which is clearly defined by the highest ruling court in Nigeria.”

Meanwhile, the Modu-Sheriff’s faction in another statement yeserday, said by virtue of the court ruling, Ibrahim was the party’s candidate at the polls.

While Modu-Sheriff said in the statement that the peace process at the national level was irreversible, he said: “We state categorically that the court judgment affirming Jimoh Ibrahim as the candidate of the PDP is a victory for democracy and an instrument to affirm the belief in the separation of power among the executive, legislature and the judiciary.”

A statement by his Deputy National Chairman, Cairo Ojougboh, said: “Every peace-loving member of the PDP should key into the process and pray that the outcome would be successesful to usher the PDP into governance in 2019.”

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