The appellate court in Port Harcourt rules in favour Ali Modu Sheriff, a former governor of Borno State as the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in a leadership tussle between him and Ahmed Makarfi, a former governor of Kaduna State; but whether the gladiators will bury hatchets and accept Sheriff’s leadership is another matter
THE leadership tussle in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, turned in favour of Ali Modu Sheriff, a former governor of Borno State, as the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, on Friday, February 17, affirmed him as the authentic national chairman of the party.
All the three judges of the appellate court, in a unanimous decision, declared Sheriff as the rightful chairman of the PDP.
Reacting to the judgement, Ajibola Oloyede, counsel to Sheriff’s faction of the PDP, described the appellate court verdict as “all round victory for justice and truth.”
“One can only hope that the PDP will take this as a clean slate to rebuild a party that can stand the test of time,” Oloyede said.
There was no word from the Makarfi faction at the press time.
Sheriff and Ahmed Makarfi, a former governor of Kaduna State, are both laying claim to the party chairmanship position, which has prompted litigations between them.
Makarfi was appointed the chairman of the PDP national caretaker committee at last year’s botched national convention of the party held in Port Harcourt.
Since then, both Sheriff and Makarfi chairman of the PDP caretaker committee have been at loggerheads on who is the rightful leader of the party. They both have been testing their legal muscles through various litigations in many courts in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, with each getting favourable orders, which have affected stability in the party.
Chieftains of the party from the two sides had at various fora expressed readiness to abide by the outcome of the appeal court verdict with a view to bringing lasting peace in the party.
A federal high court in Port Harcourt had last year gave legitimacy to Makarfi as the chairman of the party, while another court of coordinate jurisdiction in Abuja, headed by Justice Okon Abang, had ruled that Sheriff should be recognised as the chairman.
Added to that, an appeal court in Abuja, had on December 16, 2016, adjourned indefinitely, the separate hearing in the leadership tussle so as to pave way for the Port Harcourt division of the court to exhaust the case before it.
However, prior to the February 17, judgement, both chieftains of the party expressed readiness to abide by the outcome of the Appeal Court verdict with a view to bringing lasting peace in the party.
Observers say if both parties are true to the decision before the appellate court ruling, then peace should be expected to return to the party. But it is worthy of note that they have not respected previous former agreements which have left the party in tartars.
In fact, both Makarfi and Sheriff have been operating from satellite offices following the closure of the national headquarters of the party, at Wadata Plaza in Abuja.
The crisis has also spread to the state chapters of the party where loyalists line up behind either Makarfi or Sheriff.
Whether the party will have the capacity and political will to rally round Sheriff in view of the court judgement is a matter of conjecture for now.
— Feb 27, 2017 @ 01:00 GMT