President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, yesterday, constituted a fresh three-man panel of Justices to resolve the dispute over who should be the candidate of the PDP for the November 26 governorship election. The new panel will be headed by Justice Ibrahim Salauwa of the Calabar Division of the appellate court.
Other Justices on the special panel are Ignatius Igwe Agube and Godwin Mbaba.
In a letter with reference number, PCA/Abuja/VII/2016, Justice Bulkachuwa, empowered the fresh panel to hear three out of the five appeals. “You are hereby empanelled to sit and determine the above appeals in Abuja Division expeditiously”, the letter further read. It will be recalled that a previous panel of the court led by Justice Jummai Hanatu-Sankey had on Tuesday, withdrawn from handling the matter following a bribery allegation levelled against them by factional Chairman of the PDP in Ondo State, Prince Biyi Poroye.
Poroye had in a petition he forwarded to the Court of Appeal President, Justice Bulkachuwa, alleged that the panel collected over N350m as bribe from the Ahmed Markarfi-led faction of the PDP.
He said the bribe was paid for the appellate court panel to vacate the judgement of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to recognise Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim as flag-bearer of the PDP for the poll. INEC had on the strength of the High Court verdict, substituted Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, who it initially recognised as PDP candidate for the election, with Mr. Ibrahim. Whereas Jegede emerged from primary election that was sanctioned by the Markarfi-led faction of the PDP, Ibrahim on the other hand, secured his ticket from the Ali Modu-Sheriff- led group.