Mon, Oct 02, 2023

Supreme Court reserves judgment over PDP leadership crisis

Supreme Court reserves judgment over PDP leadership crisis

The Supreme Court on Monday reserved judgment on appeal challenging the affirmation of Ali Modu-Sheriff as National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, who presided, reserved the judgment after counsel to parties adopted their written addresses.

Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee of the party had on March 16, filed the appeal against Modu-Sheriff’s position.

The Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt on February 27 declared Modu-Sheriff as the legitimate National Chairman of the party.

Earlier, the five- panel of justices dismissed the application filed by Modu-Sheriff to stop the apex court from hearing Makarfi’s appeal.

At the resumed hearing, Akin Olujimi, counsel to Modu-Sheriff argued that Makarfi’s appeal was an abuse of court process.

According to him, Makarfi fails to seek the leave of court before filing the application.

Olujimi also submitted that the Makarfi’s faction seized to be recognised following the court of appeal’s judgment.

He said his client, who was the legitimate National Chairman of the party had not authorised anybody to file the appeal on behalf of the party.

In the light of the arguments, Olujimi prayed the court to dismiss the appeal forthwith.

Wole Olanikpekun, however, prayed the court to disregard the argument advanced by Modu-Sheriff’s counsel, adding that the submissions were baseless.

In his ruling, the CJN held that all valid appeals before the court on the matter must be heard.

“The rules mandate the appeals to be filed within three months in this court after the Appeal Court judgment.

“The application in question was so filed within the period and as such is deemed filed,’’ he said.

The dismissal of Modu-Sheriff’s application by the court paved the way for the adoption of the written addresses by counsel to parties.

Counsel to Makarfi in adopting his client’s address, argued that the lower court errSed in law to have affirmed Modu-Sheriff as the National Chairman of the party.

He said that Modu-Sheriff was not elected at convention of the party, but was nominated to act as the Chairman of the party within a specified period.

“My Lord, it is known to all party members including Modu-Sheriff that his tenure to act had long expired before Makarfi was made to head the caretaker committee to oversee the workings of the party.

“I therefore pray the court to re-write this wrong precedence set by the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt and upturn the decision.

“The election of officers of political parties is strictly the prerogatives of the political parties and not that of the court,’’ he said.

On his part, counsel to Modu-Sheriff urged the court to discountenance Olanipekun’s submission, adding that Modu-Sheriff was duly made the acting chairman of the party.

He argued that the party’s convention that had the power to elect a new Chairman and other officers of the party in Port Harcourt never held as planned.

Olujimi further said the decision of the lower court was apt as no official step within the party machinery had removed Modu-Sheriff from office.


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