PDP crisis: Supreme Court rules against Sheriff, reserves judgment

May 22, 2017

The Ahmed Makarfi and Ali Modu Sheriff factions of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) laying claims and counter claims to the national leadership of the party are to know their fates in the final judgment of the Supreme Court on the issue.

The Apex Court in Abuja reserved judgment to a date that would be communicated to the two invoked in the power tussle.

The Makarfi faction of the PDP is challenging the validity of the Court of Appeal’s judgment delivered on February 17th which affirmed Senator Ali Modu Sherrif as the authentic National Chairman of the party.

After taken submissions of counsel in the matter yesterday Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justices Walter Onnoghen who presided over hearing of the appeal announced that the date for judgment would be communicated appropriately to all the parties.

In his argument, Counsel to Ali Modu Sheriff’s faction, Chief Akin Olujimi SAN, urged the apex court to dismiss the appeal filed by Makarfi-led group on the grounds that the appellant no longer has the authority to initiate appeal in the name of PDP, having lost so in the Port Harcourt judgment, which pronounced Sheriff as the authentic chairman of the Party.

According to Olujinmi SAN, by reason of the judgment, by the Appeal Court, Markafi’s faction lost every right and privilege to act on behalf of PDP.

 He stated that the National Legal Adviser as well as the National Secretary of the Party, had in their motion, applied for withdrawal of the appeal, noting that the Party cannot initiate a legal action against itself.

But, counsel to Makarfi faction, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, in his own argument, urged the court to dismiss the objection made by Sheriff’s group on the grounds that it is incompetent and lacks merit.

 His argument was that at the Port Harcourt judgment, Makarfi’s group acted as appellant in the name of PDP while Sheriff joined issue with the group in that capacity.

 He maintained that until the Supreme Court, being the highest in the land, pronounces which of the factions is the authentic camp to lead the party, Makarfi’s faction has the right to initiate appeal.

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 Chief Olanipekun also drew court’s attention to Rule 29 of the court on the professional conduct and consequently urged the court to invoke the Rule on some of the lawyers representing Sheriff for act of professional misconduct

 Earlier, in a ruling, the apex court had dismissed an application filed by Sheriff challenging the competence of the appeal filed by Makarfi, claiming the appeal was filed outside the stipulated period by law. The CJN in dismissing the application upheld the argument of counsel to Makarfi that the appeal was filed within the time limit.

 Justice Onnoghen upheld Olanipekun’s argument that the said judgment having been delivered on February 17, and the notice of appeal having been filed at the Supreme Court on April 24, met the appeal time frame, making it competent.

 After listening to arguments presented by both parties, THE CJN announced that judgment day would be communicated to the parties.

 The court had, on its last sitting in May 4, 2017 ordered counsel in the matter to file their written briefs and adjourned to May 25 for hearing of the applications.

However due to the work load of the court coupled with the approaching recess of the court the matter was rescheduled for yesterday, May 22, 2017, three days earlier than the adjourned day. 

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