The Abuja division of the Court of Appeal yesterday allowed the application filed by a governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State, Eyitayo Jegede, to challenge the judgement of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja which ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remove his name and replace it with that of Jimoh Ibrahim.
Jegede had emerged from the faction of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi, while Ibrahim emerged from the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff faction.
The Makarfi faction was the first to submit the name of its candidate to the INEC.
After the submission, the Sheriff faction approached the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to challenge the submission of Jegede's name.
In his ruling, Justice Abang ordered the INEC to remove Jegede's name and replace it with that of Ibrahim.
Though not a party at the lower court, Jegede had, through his counsel, approached the appeal court seeking for leave to appeal as interested party.
B.E.I Nwofor, the counsel to the factional PDP chairman, Prince Biyi Poroye, however, opposed the application.
Delivering its ruling, a full panel of the court, in a unanimous decision, upheld the submission of the applicant and granted same as prayed.
Reading the lead judgement, Justice Ibrahim Salauwa held that Jegede had been able to prove to the court that he was affected by the judgement of the lower court.
The court, however held that the notice of appeal filed by the applicant should be deemed as properly filed and that the applicant should file and serve his application on the respondents within 24 hours.
The court, however, gave the respondents three days to file their reply.
Earlier, the court had dismissed an application by the Sheriff faction seeking the panel to disband the fresh panel set up by the President of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, to hear the matter.
The court held that no litigant has the power to challenge the administrative power of the PCA to set up a panel to hear a matter and as such, the PCA needs not to consult the litigants before setting up a fresh panel.
The court, therefore, dismissed the application for lacking in merit.
The Sheriff faction had written a petition against the first panel led by Justice Hannatu Sankey alleging a bribery to the tune of N350 million given by Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State.
After the panel recluse itself, the case file was returned to the PCA, which in turn set up a fresh panel to hear the matter.