*Makarfi group heads to Supreme Court
*Appeal Court ruling a disgrace
Appeal Court sitting in Port Harcourt has nullified the senator Ahmed Makarfi-led caretaker committee and set aside the 21st May, 2016, National convention held in Port Harcourt where he was elected caretaker committee chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party.
The court in its judgment recognised Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as the National acting Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, advising parties to maintain status quo as at 18th May.
In his ruling, the lead judge of the three man panel, Justice B.G Sanga, in agreement with Justice A. A. B. Gumel, said the national convention disobeyed valid court order and the provision of the PDP constitution, article 47 subsection 6.
Justice Sanga explained that he recognises the powers of the national convention to elect or remove but it must be in accordance with the provisions of the party’s constitution.
The court also set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt which recognised the Markafi-led Caretaker Committee executive, and said the judgement was made error. He awarded a cost of N100,000 each in favour of the appellants.
The judge faulted the manner in which the Ali-Modu Sheriff National executive committee was removed adding that two months notice should have been given to the secretariat.
However, a minority judgment was delivered by Justice Abadua Orji in the favour of the Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee.
Delivering her judgement as one of three trial judges in the matter, Justice Orji said the National Convention of PDP has the power to remove all the national executive officers of the party as stated in their party constitution. She noted that Sheriff was screened and disqualified but was absent from the convention.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after judgment, National Deputy Chairman of the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff-Led PDP, Cairo Ojuogboh called on grieving parties to come forward and move the party forward.
On his part, the National Publicity secretary, Dayo Adeyeye of Senator Ahmed Markafi-led PDP faulted the lead judgment and said the judgment will be contested at the Supreme Court.
“We are going to the Supreme Court, because this is a miscarriage of Justice. The judgement today is a reflection of what is going on in the large Nigeria politics. We can see the hand of the ruling opposition party meddling into the affairs of PDP”.
He alleged that two out of the three Justices that delivered the judgement read a script written by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) neglecting to consider all the issues relevant to the case.
Adeyeye said: “We are disappointed with the Appeal Court judgement. The lead judgement is very wrong. The issues were not considered. It is a disgrace not only to PDP but to Nigerian Democracy as a whole. It is a miscarriage of justice.
“Two out of the 3 man Justices of the Appeal Court gave a scanty judgment in favour of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff while one for Makarfi. The one that spoke in favour of Makarfi considered all the issues. She was thorough. In fact, it took the judge three times the total time it took the other two Justices to deliver their judgement.
“The judgment has finally shown that the ruling Party, the APC is out to create a one-party state in the country.
“Certainly, we are proceeding immediately to the Supreme Court to file an appeal against the ruling of the appeal court judgment.”
Meanwhile, Counsel to the Makarfi led PDP, Oladeji Laminkanra who also spoke to journalists said his client is in alignment with the judgment of Justice Orji.
Laminkanra said the judgment said: “The court of appeal Port Harcourt division, in my own view has discharged it constitutional duty. It has handed down the judgement which has addressed the issue submitted before it.