Court affirms Sheriff’s removal as PDP chair
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