Court confirms Ali Modu Sheriff as PDP chairman
A Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt Friday confirmed former Borno State governor Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as the national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
In doing so, the appellate set aside a Federal High Court judgement delivered Justice Mohammed Liman which recognised Senator Ahmed Makarfi as the chairman of the party.
Justice Liman in his judgment said that the National Convention of the PDP held in Port Harcourt in 2016 was lawfully conducted in accordance with the party’s constitution and guideline and that Ali Modu Sheriff’s led executive was lawfully dissolved during the national convention.
But in today’s split decision, justices B.G Sanga and A.B Gumel held that the convention disobeyed the court order and as such, was illegal. But Justice Justice T. S. Orji-Abadua noted that the PDP national convention was in violation of any court order since it was in line with the 2012 amended constitution of the party.
The court awarded N100, 000 to Sheriff, to be borne by the nullified national caretaker committee’s Chairman, Sen. Ahmed Makarfi, the PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Inspector-General of Police and Department of State Service (DSS).
Justice Orji-Abadua said “going by Article 33(3) of the PDP Constitution, Sheriff does not possess overriding powers over the PDP National Executive Council and therefore, had no right to unilaterally cancel the May 21, 2016, convention.
She further said that Sheriff erroneously and unwittingly absented himself from the May 21 convention after being screened, which prompted the party to invoke Article 31(1) of its Constitution and set up a caretaker committee.
She also held that Article 47 did not make it mandatory for the PDP to pass a vote of confidence before removing its officers and therefore, upheld the outcome of the convention and the caretaker committee.
Orji-Abadua stated that Sheriff had no powers to cancel PDP national convention. She awarded a cost of N100, 000 against Sheriff.