The crisis in the Ogun state branch of the People’s Democratic Party deepened on Monday as the Supreme Court rejected an appeal against the party’s gubernatorial nomination.

As a result, the Supreme Court ordered the remand of the lawsuit brought by gubernatorial candidate Jimi Lawal to the Federal High Court.

Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, in the PDP’s appeal judgment, held that the Federal High Court erred in refusing to exercise jurisdiction in the Jimi Lawal matter.

The Supreme Court agreed with the Abuja Court of Appeal that the FHC had jurisdiction under Section 285 of the 1999 Constitution and Section 84 (14) of the Elections Act 2022 to hear Lawal’s case.

The Supreme Court therefore ordered that the case be remanded to FHC Chief Justice John Tsoho in Abuja for a decision by a judge other than Judge Taiwo Taiwo who declined to hear the suit.

In a unanimous judgment by a five-member panel of the Supreme Court, Justice Saulawa ordered that the FHC must expeditiously hear Lawal’s case against Oladipupo Adebutu and the PDP within the time allowed by law.

Jimi Lawal, who is running in the May 25 PDP gubernatorial primary, questioned Adebutu’s presence, claiming the party used illegal delegate lists for the election.

Among other things, LaVar had prayed for the cancellation of the primary, scheduled for May 25, and for another one with real interim representatives.

However, FHC Judge Taiwo Taiwo, in a judgment delivered on July 29, refused to hear Jimi Lawal’s lawsuit on the grounds that the primary election is an internal matter of any political party, dismissing the lawsuit.

Unsatisfied, Lawal appealed to the Abuja Court of Appeal for the FHC’s decision to be annulled and set aside on grounds of miscarriage of justice.

The three-judge panel of the appeals court agreed with Jimi Lawal in its Sept. 30 judgment, vacating the FHC’s judgment and ordering the lawsuit to be heard on its merits.

The People’s Democratic Party was dissatisfied with the ruling of the appeals court and filed a petition with the Supreme Court to uphold the judgment of the Federal Supreme Court that the conduct of the primary election is its internal matter.

But Justice Saulawa disagreed with the PDP that the Federal High Court has jurisdiction to hear Jimi Lawal’s case under Article 285 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 84 of the Elections Act 2022.

The Supreme Court ordered the FHC chief judge to reassign the case to another judge for retrial on the merits.

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