- Makarfi is the man, rules Port Harcourt Judge
Leadership crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, took another twist yesterday as two High Courts gave contradictory rulings over the chairmanship of the party.
While in Lagos, Justice Ibrahim Buba of Federal High Court ordered the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, to ensure that the members of the caretaker committee headed by Senator Ahmed Makarfi do not take over the party’s national headquarters and that Ali Modu Sheriff remained the national chairman of the PDP, a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt restrained the embattled national chairman of the party and the national secretary, Prof Wale Oladipo, from parading themselves as officers of the party.
The Port Harcourt order came through a Motion Ex-parte filed by counsels to the party, Mr D. Laminkanra, SAN, before Justice Mohammed Liman.
The Motion Ex-parte in Suit No. FHC/PH/CS/524/2016 sought among other things to restrain INEC from according any recognition to Sherriff and Oladipo.
After listening to the motion, Justice Liman granted the prayers in the ex-parte motion, including leave of service on the respondents.
The order read in part: “An order restraining the 3rd defendant from according or continuing to accord any recognition to the 1st and 2nd defendants or any and/or all the National Executive Committee and Members of the National Working Committee of the plaintiff who were removed from office by the National Convention of the Plaintiff held on the 22st of May 2016 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, as officers or organs of the plaintiff, pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.
“An order directing the third defendant to recognise the National Caretaker Committee appointed by the National Convention held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on the 21st day of May, 2016, as the executive authority of the plaintiff including;( a) the conduct of primary elections for Political offices; and (b) the submission of the plaintiff’s list of candidates for any elections by the third respondent pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.”
Rivers State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Emmanuel Aguma, SAN, while briefing newsmen on the development, said interim orders were sought pending the hearing of the motion on notice.
Aguma, who was chairman of the screening committee for the just concluded PDP National Convention, said members of the party’s NWC and NEC were served the suit in a representative capacity through Sheriff and Oladipo.
He said: “Well, as you well know, I was chairman of the screening committee for the convention in Port Harcourt. The PDP yesterday went to court to fill an action against the national officers of the party who were removed at the national convention.
“They were served in representative capacity with his Excellency, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as first defendant and Professor Oladapo as the second defendant.
“They were sued for and on behalf of the national officers. Of course, INEC were joined in the suit and also joined were the police and the SSS. Interim orders were sought pending the hearing of the motion on notice. Interim orders were granted and the gist of the interim orders can be summarized as follows;
“The removed national officers should not parade themselves as officers of the party, PDP. The National Working Committee and NEC should not function as organs of the party pending the hearing of the motion on notice. INEC was restrained from receiving any document or any matter howsoever dealing with the removed national officers.”
It would be recalled that during the convention of the PDP last weekend in Port Harcourt, the National Executive Council, NEC, and National Working Committee, NWC, were dissolved and a caretaker committee was set up to run the affairs of the party for the next three months.