An Abuja High Court sitting at Apo area in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has sacked the factional chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff.
The PDP has been involved in protracted crisis since it lost the last general election in 2015.
The court, in a judgment by Justice Valentine Ashi, declared as “unconstitutional, null and void” the purported amendment of Article 47 Rule 6 of PDP Constitution, 2012, at a special National Convention the party held on Wednesday and Thursday, December 10 and 11, 2014 on the basis that it did not comply with mandatory provisions of Article 66 (2) and (3) of the PDP constitution.
Justice Ashi ruled: “By reason of the above, the purported amendments introduced to the constitution on the aforesaid dates are hereby set aside.
“All persons, individuals, servants or agents of PDP parading themselves as national officers of the PDP, pursuant to the purported amendment which has now been nullified, are hereby restrained from further parading themselves in these capacities”, Justice Ashi held.
This ruling effectively nullified the 2014 PDP constitutional amendment upon which Sheriff was appointed PDP chairman.
The judgment followed a suit marked FCT/HC/CV/1867/2016, which was lodged before the court by a chieftain of the PDP in Ondo State, Chief Joseph Jero.
PDP was the only defendant in the matter.
The lawyer that represented PDP in court, Mr Okere Kingdom, said the party would appeal the judgement, insisting that the court had no power to meddle in the domestic affairs of a political party.
About two weeks ago, the secretariat of the party was a centre of confusion with the Ahmed Makarfi and the Sheriff’s factions laying claim to the chairmanship of the party.
Less than two days after Sheriff stormed the PDP national secretariat with his loyalists to impose himself as national chairman, aggrieved party youths sacked him from the premises.
The group of youths, under the aegis of PDP National Rebirth Group and PDP Concerned Rescue Group, invaded and sealed off the party’s national headquarters and handed the keys over to the chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Walid Jibrin.
Following yesterday’s allegation by the Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee accusing the Department of State Services (SSS) of providing the ousted chairman, Sheriff, security to take over the PDP head office, the security outfit has withdrawn its men from the secretariat.
Even the number of policemen was small compared to when the security agents were deployed in the wake of the latest leadership crisis.
I’m still in charge – Sheriff
But Modu Sheriff has dismissed claims that he was sacked as PDP national chairman following a court judgement yesterday.
Sheriff who reacted through his media aide, Inuwa Bwala, said he was not a party to the suit in the first instance.In his response, however, the media aide to Sheriff, Inuwa Bwala, said: “It was a price of mischief. Ali Sheriff is not even a party in the said suit and could not have been affected by a matter to which he is not a party.”
Oladipo, on his part, said: “For the avoidance of doubt, the court only heard and delivered judgement on a matter concerning certain amendments in the PDP constitution, which has nothing to do with the election of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as the national chairman or even that of his predecessor, Alhaji Adamu Muazu.
“Senator Ali Modu Sheriff was duly elected as the national chairman of the PDP. He still holds office as the national chairman and has not been removed by any court. We, therefore, urge those misleading the media and the unsuspecting public to desist from such.”
Similarly, the national secretary of PDP in Sheriff’s camp, Prof Adewale Oladipo, has described such insinuations as completely false and a clear misrepresentation of the ruling of the court, saying it never gave any ruling ousting the national chairman.
Retrace your steps, Makarfi Faction Tells Sheriff
However, the PDP National Caretaker Committee has urged Sheriff to retrace his steps and return to the fold following the High Court judgement.
Reacting to the court judgment, secretary of the Caretaker Committee, Senator Ben Obi, in an interview, said: “We expect more positive court rulings in the days ahead in favour of our party. It is time for them to face the truth and retrace their steps.”[Leadership]