PDP: Court confirms the sack of Sheriff

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•says May 21 National Convention was valid
•confirms the PDP Caretaker Committee

A Federal High Court sitting  in  Port Harcourt on Monday  declared  that the  May 21, 2016 National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,
was duly constituted,  declaring that the dissolution  of the National Working Committee and the National Executive Committee by that convention  were valid.

In his judgment  on the suit filed by the PDP  against  Senator  Ali Modu Sheriff and others, Justice Abdullahi Liman  declared that the appointment  of  the  Caretaker  Committee  of the PDP  to oversee  its affairs  was legal and in line with  the  provisions of the PDP constitution.

Justice Liman said that Article  31 (1) of the  PDP  constitution  vested the powers to convene a national  convention  on the National Executive Committee of the party.

The court held that pursuant  to the constitution of the party, the former Acting National Chairman had no powers to unilaterally  postpone  the properly  constituted national convention  on a day all delegates  had converged  on Port Harcourt,  the host city.

He described  the action of Senator  Ali Modu Sheriff as most unconscionable ,  pointing  out  that  the  former  Acting National Chairman participated in all the processes leading to the National Convention,  only to make a u-turn at the final minute after he was screened and disqualified.

The court ruled that after Sheriff  was disqualified following  his screening,  the only option  that was left to  Senator  Sheriff  was to have  gone to the venue of the National Convention to seek the opinion of delegates  whether they were prepared to go on with the convention or not.

According  to  Justice Liman, the absence of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff from the convention did not visible from the process as his powers were not usurped.

The court declared that under  Article 35 (b) of the PDP  constitution  , in the absence of the Chairman,  the Deputy Chairman  was empowered  to preside over the National Convention.

It therefore ruled that the May 21st, 2016 PDP  National Convention  was properly  constituted  and the decisions  taken at the convention, valid.

The Federal High Court further ruled that in line with Article 33 (2) of the PDP  constitution,  the National Convention of the party is supreme and can exercise  the powers to dissolve the National Working Committee and the National Executive Committee of the party.

On the issue of the abuse of court process  claimed by the Former National Acting Chairman,  Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, the court held that the  plaintiffs in the case in question  are not the same in the cases mentioned by the defendants, noting that the plaintiffs  suit only centred on the National Convention.

The court noted that five days to the National Convention,  the Former Acting National Chairman,  Senator Ali Modu Sheriff had through  his counsel’s dissociated himself  from one of the suits they filed via proxies.

Justice  Liman  emphasised  that there was no suit challenging the conduct of the National Convention  in Port Harcourt  and that no injunction  sought to stop the convention.

Addressing  journalists  after the judgment, Counsel to the PDP, Dejo Lamikanra  (SAN) said that the judgment settles all the contending issues concerning  the  PDP.  He said with the judgement,  the decision of the National Convention  to appoint  a Caretaker Committee stands and that Senator Ali Modu Sheriff was duly sacked.

In his remarks, Secretary of the Caretaker Committee, Senator Ben Obi declared  that the Caretaker Committee will now settle down to carry out the responsibility  bestowed  on it by the National Convention.

Counsel to Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, Mr John Martins Abu commended the court for its judgment. 


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