PDP Crisis Ali Modu Sheriff wins as Court nullifies Port Harcourt convention

Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Thursday upheld Sen. Ali-Modu Sheriff as the authentic National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The court nullified the appointment of Ahmed Makarfi as Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the party.

Abang said the purported convention held in Port-Harcourt on May 21 by the Makarfi caretaker committee was a total violation of court orders.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that there was an order by a Lagos State Federal High Court restraining Makarfi’s caretaker committee from parading themselves as the party executive.
Another Federal High court in Lagos also declared the Sheriff faction as illegal which the Port Harcourt division of the Federal High Court upheld.
The orders came on May 12 and May 20 while the PDP convention took place on May 21.
One of the courts had restrained the PDP from holding any further convention until they put their house in order.
Meanwhile, Justice Abang also restrained the Makarfi’s caretaker committee from exercising any authority or taking any decision on behalf of the PDP henceforth on account of being an illegal body.
On the tussle between Mr Olagoke Fakunle and Ferdinand Obi (senior advocates) locked in legal battle to represent the two factions of PDP, Abang said the Makarfi-led faction which appointed Obi had no legal authority to do so.

The judge said the letter by the Makarfi-led faction appointing Obi to represent the party was illegal, unlawful and was set aside on the ground that the committee was null and void.
According to Abang, the committee headed by Makarfi had no law to his side to appoint a lawyer for PDP or carry out any act on behalf of the party.
He, however, upheld the appointment of Olagoke Fakunle having been appointed to represent PDP by the Ali Modu sheriff led faction as the authentic legal representation.
The judge said Makarfi’s caretaker committee had missed their way by heading to the Port Harcourt division of the Federal High Court to obtain a favorable judgment.
Abang said the Port Harcourt Federal High Court had the same co-ordinate jurisdiction with that of Lagos division.
According to Abang, the judgment of the Port Harcourt division which recognised the Makarfi led caretaker committee is unlawful, illegal and has no foundation in law to stand.
According to Abang, anything done in contravention of the two subsisting orders are unlawful, illegal and should not be recognised.
“Sen. Makarfi-led caretaker committee as an apostle of impunity found their way to Port Harcourt to get judgment and I hold that the judgment cannot stand.
“The Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High court cannot make an order to neutralise the effectiveness and potency of orders of Lagos Division of the Federal High court.
“As at the time the Makarfi led committee found their way to Port Harcourt division of the Federal High court, the orders of the Lagos division of the court was still subsisting.
“The Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High court, therefore, has no business to have dabbled into the issues of PDP leadership in the light of the subsisting orders issued in Lagos by a court of competent jurisdiction.
“The Supreme court has made it clear that in a situation like this, something cannot be built on nothing and in the instance, I have no liver to depart from the Supreme Court decision.
“Though I have powers to nullify the division of the Port Harcourt that recognised Makarfi leadership; I will not do so because there is no application to that effect before me.

I will, however, allow the court of appeal to do justice to that’’, Abang said.

The judge advised politicians not to cause disaffection among judges of the Federal High Court, adding that if they do so, the court has the power to call them to order.
He also said that the culture of impunity must stop in this country.
Abang also said that any decision outside the Sheriff led committee is illegal, unlawful and is not binding on the party.
The court also adjourned to Aug. 15 to rule on the application to join other executive members of the Makarfi led committee in the fresh suit filed by Sen. Sheriff stopping the committee from conducting a fresh convention.

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