Eventually, the about 18month internal tussle in the Peoples Democratic Party PDP is gradually picking an end as the Appeal court sitting in Port Harcourt on Friday upheld Ali Modu Sheriff’s chairmanship and nullifies Senator Ahmed Makarfi’s stance. The court indicated that the party convention that brought Makarfi in 2016 disobeyed a court order which had earlier stopped them from holding it. According to them, it is an abuse of court process and the court will not shut its eyes to such illegality.
Delivering the lead judgment, Sanga said that PDP convention of 21 May 2016, did not follow the provisions of Article 47(3) of its Constitution in the removal of the Sherrif-led National Working Committee.
According to him, no vote of confidence was passed on Sheriff or the committee as provided by the said article, and the national working committee was not put on notice.
Justice Gumel also reiterated that Sheriff and his executive cannot be removed until August, 2017, except the party holds an election.
Gumel described the originating summons in the suit at the Federal High Court as over-reaching, and ordered the parties to maintain the status quo.
Another high point of the ruling is the court awarding N100, 000 to Sheriff which is to be paid by the nullified national caretaker committee’s Chairman, Sen. Ahmed Makarfi, the PDP, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Inspector-General of Police and Department of State Service (DSS).
Meanwhile, the third member of the Appeal Court in Port Harcourt, Justice T.S. Orji-Abadua, is of a different view, saying that the Port Harcourt convention was legal.
According to her, the PDP national convention was in line with the 2012 amended Constitution of the party and not an abuse of court process. She further stipulates that Ali Modu Sheriff had no power to cancel the party’s national convention as he was only appointed to man the office in an acting capacity pending election. Therefore in reverse, She awarded a cost of N100, 000 against Ali Modu Sheriff.
In reaction to the judgement, the victor, Ali-Modu Sheriff, promises to continue his rebuilding process also calling out names of party members whom he feels should be left out of the party governance.
“I will engineer a restructuring of the PDP such that characters like Wike and Fayose cannot find a way through to attain any position of prominence in our party in the future.
”They have brought shame and agony through the application of their crude and godless politics which is at variance with the principles upon which our founding fathers built our great party. We must find a way to sieve things so that only men of character and integrity can come through for positions of responsibility at all levels of our political engagement in the country.”
On the other hand, Senator Ahmed Makarfi has accused APC (the ruling party) of sheer interference in the proclaimed judgement as a way to uphold a one party system approach in the country. The Counsel to the PDP, Oladeji Laminkanra SAN has also asserted his client’s decision to seek redress at the Supreme Court in Abuja.