- As BoT takes over leadership of party
Embattled former governor of Borno State, Sen. Modu Sheriff, has told a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt that he remains the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Sheriff, in a motion on notice filed before Justice Abubakar Liman, described the PDP’s Caretaker Committee headed by Sen. Ahmed Makarfi as an aberration and a “contraption” that was set up in defiance of valid court orders.
He urged Justice Liman to vacate an interim order of May 24 sacking and restraining him (Sheriff) from parading himself as the National Chairman of the PDP.
The order also restrained Prof. Wale Oladipo from parading himself as the National Secretary of the PDP.
Justice Liman had made the order in a suit filed in the name of the PDP in which Sheriff, Oladipo, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Inspector-General of Police and the Department of State Services were joined as defendants.
But in the motion on notice filed by their lawyer, Mr. Ajibola Oluyede, seeking to vacate the restraining order, Sheriff and Oladipo, described those who sued them in the name of the PDP as usurpers, who lacked “the authority and locus” to institute the suit on behalf of the party.
Sheriff and Oladipo are praying the court to hold that by a community reading of Section 223 of the 1999 Constitution and Articles 33(1) (a) and 35(1) of the PDP Constitution, only they are empowered to chair and preside over the party’s convention and all meetings through which available national offices can be filled.
Meanwhile, in a bid to fill the vacuum in the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, following conflicting court orders over the chairmanship of the party, the Board of Trustees, BoT, yesterday formally took over the management of the party.
Two Federal High Courts sitting in Lagos and Port Harcourt two weeks ago stopped both the former chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker committee from taking charge of the party.
Speaking at a meeting with workers at the PDP national secretariat, the chairman of the BoT, Senator Walid Jibrin, said as the custodians of all the assets of the party, the BoT is taking proactive measures to ensure the party is kept running until the court processes are resolved.
He commended the Inspector General of Police, Sunday Arase for mobilizing his men to seal up the party secretariat and protecting the properties of the party at the peak of the post-convention crisis.
“At this critical moment, what we need is to secure our property, to safeguard your lives, and to allow members of staff of the party to work under a very good atmosphere.
“The BoT is in charge of the assets of the party and it is in that respect that the IGP, having considered our constitution and staff, that this place be opened and entrusted in the hands of the BoT.”
He explained that the BoT is the only statutory organ of the party that is not encumbered by any court orders and stressed that the board is also playing its role to resolve the impasse.