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More Trouble For PDP As Court Sacks Makarfi

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The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Thursday, July 28, nullified the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) convention that brought in the caretaker committee led by former Kaduna state governor Ahmed Makarfi into power.

At the hearing today, Justice Okon Abang made the ruling during the court’s attempt to determine a legal representation for the PDP.

Earlier in court today, July 28, the party two different counsels were in a battle for legal representation for the PDP.

The counsels, Adeniyi Akintola and Ferdinand Obi had battled for who would repretthe party in the matter.

But Abang in his ruling said that to determine which counsel should represent the party, the court would first determine if the convention that brought the caretaker committee into power was lawful.

“The convention was unlawfully held and the Caretaker Committee was unlawfully constituted.

“If the Markarfi led faction as an apostle of impunity missed it’s way to the PF division of the FHC, the court cannot be said to have acted within its legal jurisdiction in entertaining the matter”, Abang said.

He further advised Nigerian politicians to desist from causing confusion in court and thereby heating up the polity.

The embattled national chairman of the party Ali Modu-Sheriff in a motion of injunction had asked the court to give an order preventing the party from conducting a convention slated for August 17 by the Makarfi led group.

Sheriff was sacked by the party on May 21, during a botched national convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers state.

He was replaced by a former governor of Kaduna state Ahmed Makarfi who the party appointed as an acting chairman of the party’s caretaker committee.

Sheriff is asking among others for the court to determine whether his replacement by Makarfi during the convention that was held in Port Harcourt, Rivers state is lawful or an abuse of court orders.

A Federal High Court in Lagos had before now issued a restraining order on the party.

The court ordered that the party should not conduct an election for key positions in the party.

Meanwhile, the Ali Modu Sheriff-faction of the national leadership of the party has urged the Federal High Court in Abuja to stop the party from going ahead with its planned national convention scheduled to hold on August 17.

In a statement by its spokesman, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, the Makarfi committee declared that what Justice Okon Abang did was to seat on an appeal over the court of competent and coordinate jurisdiction, and that was what made his interlocutory order very strange.

It went further to note that the judgment of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt was very clear that the national caretaker committee was duly constituted and recognised; and in line with that, the scheduled National Convention for August 17, 2016 still holds.

“We have just received information that Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja has granted an order of interlocutory injunction stopping our scheduled National Convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, but we want to state that the judgment of the 4th of July, 2016 supersedes any ex-parte order or interlocutory injunctions. So, our National Convention will hold as scheduled in Port Harcourt, Rivers State,” Adeyeye said.

The party recalled that “the two former judgments before the Port Harcourt judgment, declared that Senator Sheriff is not qualified to be a National Chairman given that the PDP Constitution 2014 which he claimed brought him to power is not in existence and therefore, null and void.

“The PDP wants Nigerians to know that Justice Okon Abang is deliberately engaging in acts of derailing the country’s democracy given the fact that his court is not an Appeal Court that can set aside any judgment. He has penchant for abuse of court processes and actions of legal impunity.”

The party further noted that, “This judge Nigerians will recall, issued judgment against the governor of Abia State that led to INEC re-issuing another Certificate of Return to a man who did not contest election, thereby causing unnecessary hardship on the people of that state.

“He also issued an order to INEC to recognise Senator Sheriff’s candidates in Edo and Ondo states before they could even plan their purported congress in Edo.

“In today’s case, this same judge out rightly denied the PDP representation in court which is unheard of by serving the plaintiff (Sheriff & Co.) who instituted the case also as PDP (defendants). His excesses are extremely absurd, strange and unbecoming of a judge who enjoys putting the judiciary on the spot. We therefore bring this matter before the highest level of judiciary in the country to stop this judge forthwith from waging war against the PDP.

“We are equally calling on Nigerians and the international community to compel Nigeria judiciary to address Justice Abang’s excesses before he kills our hard earned democracy.

“However, the party is law abiding and therefore, will apply for stay of execution of this order and also appeal it.

“Finally, the party calls on all its members and teaming supporters nationwide to remain calm and law abiding and be rest assured that the PDP National Convention will hold as scheduled and all preparation towards the August 17, 2016 National Convention remain the same.

“Justice Okon Abang can give Ali Modu Sheriff thousands of court orders, and that will not stop us from going ahead with planned national convention and other activities we intend to carry out. We have two court orders, which had declared Modu-Sheriff leadership illegal,” the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led PDP stated.

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