The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State has hailed yesterday's ruling of the special panel of the Court of Appeal constituted to hear matters bordering on the PDP candidacy in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Ondo State.
Justice Ibrahim Salauwa, who led the three man panel, had in his ruling granted the Ondo PDP governorship candidate, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede the leave to appeal the judgement earlier given by an Abuja High Court.
Granting the appeal, Justice Salauwa said: "It smacks of gross incompetence and an irritant. The candidate's right has been adversely affected and has the right to ventilate his grievances.
"To deny him this right is vexatious and oppressive and an attempt to pervert the course of justice. It is a mischief and the counter application is dismissed.
"Eyitayo Jegede has the right to appeal. The counter application is absurd and strange. It is unimaginable", he said.
He also dismissed other applications seeking a disbandment of the panel of appeal and that involving Sherrif/Poroye and Markarfi.
Reacting to the development, the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Ondo State, Mr. Banji Okunomo said the victory is dedicated to God.
He noted that even though Biyi Poroye's counsel tried hard to frustrate the efforts of the panel, things still went on favourably.
"The PDP gives glory to God for today's victory at the Court of Appeal where the panel sitting on cases bordering on the crises within the PDP nationwide and Ondo State in particular are being heard.
"Efforts by a new counsel to Jimoh Ibrahim to submit a fresh application while the reading of the ruling was on was refused by the panel which described the said lawyer as an absentee lawyer to an absentee applicant.
"The Court upheld the motion for leave to appeal by Eyitayo Jegede thus affirming him as an interested party in the suit.
"In the same vein, the Court of Appeal dismissed the counter application by counsel to Poroye, sherrif and others challenging the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal and the administrative power exercised by President of the Court of Appeal to set up such a special panel.
"The Panel lambasted the petitioners who questioned the power of the President of the Appellate Court to constitute the panel saying he has the administrative fiat to do so", he said.
Okunomo explained that with the rulings, the party is close to 100 percent victory saying soon, everything would soon take its proper shape
He noted that efforts are being made to ensure that the needful is done on time saying Jegede's lead counsel, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) had already applied for an abridgement of time which was granted.
"Abridgement of time filed by counsel to Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), Wole Olanipekun (SAN) was also granted to enable the court expeditiously conclude the appeal in view of the nature of the suit which is time bound.
"In view of this, the panel granted not more than 24 hours effective from today to all parties to file in their briefs of arguments for adoption so that the final judgement can cone thereafter", he said.
"This victory is almost 100 percent and the merit of the appeal has been proved and ascertained.It is victory for democracy, victory for Ondo State and victory for Eyitayo Jegede (SAN)", he said.
He cautioned against the act of impunity being perperated by some politicians in the State as uncalled for and a threat to the nation's nascent democracy.
"Again, it is a lesson to those who take solace in acts of impunity, using their ill-gotten wealth to derail the due process that is fundamental to the survival of democracy.
"How on earth would a man who, by not being a member of PDP, did not submit himself to the democratic process of PDP primaries of August 22nd in Akure,Ondo State suddenly ambushed the process with a contrived court order against the collective will of the people?
"It has been established that the decision of the lower court to give a final order against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), while not being the highest court is preposterous and completely out of order'
"It is only a higher court that has the the inherent constitutional power to give such type of order and not a trial court", Okunomo disclosed.
He called on the members of the party to remain firm saying: "Our people especially our party supporters should remain resolute in the State.
"Our members who are being derailed by the unfortunate scenario should, once again be assured that we have victory now in our hands.