By Ifeanyi Nwoko
The Supreme Court has upheld the Ahmed Makarfi led Caretaker committee of the Peoples Democratic Party as the authentic committee.
In its ruling on Wednesday, the Apex Court held that the appeal filed by Makarfi at the Federal High Court in P/H was not an abuse of court process as wrongly held by the majority judgment of the Court of Appeal.
Resolving the preliminary issue, the Supreme Court has dismissed the preliminary objection by the Ali Modu Sheriff faction, holding that the appeal by the Ahmed Makarfi faction was valid.
The second issue formulated is being considered by the Supreme Court. The issue is whether the PDP’s National Convention held on May 21, 2016 and where Sheriff was removed as National Chairman of the party was illegal.
In February, a Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers state affirmed Sen. Ali-Modu Sheriff as the authentic chairman of the PDP.
The appellate court also nullified the party’s National Convention held in the Rivers capital in 2016 and the National Caretaker Committee of the party constituted at the convention.
Two out of the three-member Appeal Court, Justice B.G. Sanga and Justice A. Gumel, in the judgment, said the Port Harcourt convention was an abuse of court process.
However the Makafi led faction of the party had vowed to approach the Apex Court.
The National Publicity Secretary of the Committee, Mr Dayo Adeyeye, said then that the judgment was a “big disappointment, travesty and miscarriage of justice”.
“The minority judgment is very sound in law, logic and fact. It gives us hope that we will have our day in the Supreme Court.
“Whereas the lead judgment left out the main issues and laboured unconvincingly to work to a preconceived answer, the minority judgment thrashed all the issues and upheld the judgment of the High Court in Port Harcourt, delivered by Liman J on July 4, 2016. `
“We will certainly appeal to the Supreme Court. No reconciliatory effort will stop it. We need the Supreme Court to make a pronouncement on the issue, once and for all,’’ he said.(NAN)
Meanwhile, Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has congratulated the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the Supreme Court judgment which was in their favour.
Reacting to the judgment in Asaba today (Wednesday, 12/07/17) shortly after the delivery of the judgment by the five-man panel of Justices of the apex court headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, Governor Okowa in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Charles Aniagwu lauded the Supreme Court for the sound ruling which has put to an end to the protracted leadership crisis that has bedeviled the party, described as the biggest political party in sub-Saharan Africa.
Okowa said: “I on behalf of the good people of Delta State, home of the PDP, congratulate the Senator Markafi-led PDP for the victory recorded today at the Supreme Court. It has been a tortuous journey for the party but, I am glad that the Supreme Court has put the crisis to an end. I congratulate members of our great party particularly the National Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi and members of the National Caretaker Committee for this well deserved victory. It is a victory for the Board of Trustees, Governors Forum of the party, National Assembly Caucus, State Chairmen’s forum and other stakeholders.”
“This judgment is victory for Democracy because, the Judiciary had always proven their independence and wisdom, it is a reawakening for our great party to provide the much needed leadership for our country, Nigeria. It was a case of PDP Vs PDP, so, we should remain united and committed to the slogan of the PDP – power to the people.
“As the biggest political party in Africa despite losing the Presidential elections in 2015, it is time for us to rebuild our house, remain united, accommodate those who are leaving other political parties to the party that is truly democratic and believes in the rule of law, a political party that has the interest of the common man on the street at heart and continue to ensure that the best is achieved for the country.
“I commend the Judiciary for its commitment to setting precedence that will sustain Nigeria’s democracy; I commend all Nigerians for their prayers while the internal rumbling lasted and I give glory to God for ensuring that democratic tenets are consolidated in the country.”
Governor Okowa urged members of the party to be accommodating to any Nigerian who wishes to join the party, noting, “The umbrella is large enough to accommodate any Nigerian, it is a party Nigerians are happy to identify with.”