Court af­firms Sher­iff’s re­moval as PDP chair

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - From Vic­tor Edozie, Port Harcourt

AFed­eral High Court in Port Harcourt, presided over by Jus­tice Mo­ham­mad Li­man, yes­ter­day up­held the re­moval of Sen Ali Modu Sher­iff as na­tional chair­man of the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP).

The court also de­clared that the May 21, 2016 na­tional con­ven­tion of the PDP was duly con­sti­tuted.

Jus­tice Li­man af­firmed that the dis­so­lu­tion of the Na­tional Work­ing Committee (NWC) and the Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Committee (NEC) by the con­ven­tion were valid.

In his judg­ment on the suit filed by the PDP against Sen Sher­iff and oth­ers, Jus­tice Li­man de­clared that the ap­point­ment of the care­taker committee of the PDP, headed by a for­mer gov­er­nor of Kaduna State, Sen Ahmed Makarfi, to over­see the af­fairs of the party was le­gal and in line with the pro­vi­sions of the PDP Con­sti­tu­tion, say­ing that Ar­ti­cle 31 (1) of the PDP Con­sti­tu­tion vested the pow­ers to con­vene a na­tional con­ven­tion on the NEC of the party.

The court held that pur­suant to the con­sti­tu­tion of the party, the for­mer na­tional chair­man (Sher­iff) had no pow­ers to uni­lat­er­ally post­pone the prop­erly con­sti­tuted na­tional con­ven­tion on a day all del­e­gates had con­verged on Port Harcourt, the host city.

He de­scribed the ac­tion of Sen Sher­iff as “most un­con­scionable”, point­ing out that the for­mer na­tional chair­man par­tic­i­pated in all the pro­cesses lead­ing to the con­ven­tion, only to make a U-turn at the final minute after he was screened and dis­qual­i­fied.

The court ruled that after Sher­iff was dis­qual­i­fied, the only op­tion left for him was to have gone to the venue of the con­ven­tion to seek the opin­ion of del­e­gates on whether they were pre­pared to go on with the con­ven­tion or not.

Ac­cord­ing to Jus­tice Li­man, the ab­sence of Sen Sher­iff at the con­ven­tion did not af­fect the process as his pow­ers were not usurped.

The court de­clared that un­der Ar­ti­cle 35 (b) of the PDP Con­sti­tu­tion, in the ab­sence of the chair­man, the deputy chair­man was empowered to pre­side over the con­ven­tion.

It there­fore ruled that the May 21 con­ven­tion was prop­erly con­sti­tuted and the de­ci­sions taken were valid.

The Fed­eral High Court fur­ther ruled that in line with Ar­ti­cle 33 (2) of the PDP Con­sti­tu­tion, the na­tional con­ven­tion of the party is supreme and can ex­er­cise the pow­ers to dis­solve the NWC and NEC of the party.

On the is­sue of the abuse of court process claimed by Sher­iff, the court held that the plain­tiffs in the case in ques­tion were not the same in the cases men­tioned by the de­fen­dants, not­ing that the plain­tiffs’ suit only both­ered on the na­tional con­ven­tion.

Jus­tice Li­man em­pha­sized that there was no suit chal­leng­ing the con­duct of the na­tional con­ven­tion in Port Harcourt, and that no in­junc­tion sought to stop the con­ven­tion.

Ad­dress­ing jour­nal­ists after the judg­ment, Coun­sel to the PDP, Dejo Lamikanra SAN, said the judg­ment set­tles all the con­tend­ing is­sues con­cern­ing the PDP.

He said with the judg­ment, the de­ci­sion of the na­tional con­ven­tion to ap­point a care­taker committee stands and that Sen Sher­iff was duly sacked.

Sen Ahmed Makarfi

Sen­a­tor Ali Modu Sher­iff

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