A Federal High Court in Abuja, on
Thursday, barred the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led caretaker committee from
exercising any authority or taking any decision on behalf of the People’s
Democratic Party (PDP) henceforth, describing it as an illegal body.
This came as the trial judge,
Justice Okon Abang, in a ruling he delivered, affirmed Senator Ali Modu Sheriff
as the authentic national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The court held that the purported
convention held in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, on May 20, 2016 was held in
violation of the two court orders of the Lagos division of the Federal High
Court, which barred the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission
(INEC) from holding the convention.
Justice Abang, who ruled on the
tussle between two Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), Mr Olagoke Fakunle and
Ferdinand Obi, said the Makarfi faction, which appointed Obi, had no legal
authority to do so.
He held that the letter by
Senator Makarfi-led committee appointing Obi for the PDP was illegal, unlawful
and was set aside by the court on the ground that Makarfi had no law to his
side to appoint a lawyer for the PDP or carry out any act on behalf of the
Justice Abang upheld the
appointment of Fakunle, having been appointed to represent the PDP by the
The judge took a swipe at the
Makarfi-led group for missing their way to Port-Harcourt to obtain a judgment
from a division of the Federal High Court, which is a court of coordinate
jurisdiction to that of Lagos, in order to obtain a favorable judgment.
Justice Abang said the judgment
of the Port Harcourt division, which recognized Makarfi-led caretaker
committee, was unlawful, illegal and had no foundation in law to stand.
He held that until the orders
made by the Lagos division of the Federal High Court, which restrained the PDP from holding convention at the time
it did, was set aside, anything done in contravention of the two subsisting
orders were unlawful, illegal and should not be recognized.
“If the Makarfi-led caretaker
committee, as an apostle of impunity, find their way to Port Harcourt to get
judgment, that judgment cannot stand. The Port Harcourt division of the Federal
High Court cannot make an order to neutralize the effectiveness and potency of
orders of the Lagos division of the Federal High Court.
“As of the time the Makarfi-led
committee found their way to the Port Harcourt division of the Federal High
Court, the orders of the Lagos division of the court were still subsisting.
“The Port Harcourt division of
the Federal High Court, therefore, has no business to have dabbled into the
issues of the PDP leadership in the light of the subsisting orders issued in
Lagos by a court of competent jurisdiction
“Let me make it clear that the
Supreme Court has made it clear in a situation like this, something cannot be
built on nothing and in this instance, I have no liver to depart from the
Supreme Court decision.
“Though, I have powers to nullify
the decision of the Port Harcourt court that recognized the Makarfi leadership,
but I will not do so because there is no application to that effect before me.
I will, however, allow the Court of Appeal to do justice to that,” he said.
The judge further admonished
politicians not to cause disaffection among judges of the Federal High Court,
adding that if they, however, do so, “we have the power to call them to order.
Justice Abang held that Sheriff
remained the authentic national chairman of the PDP and had the authority to
act and take decision on behalf of the party.
He also said any decision outside
the Sheriff-led committee was illegal, unlawful and not binding on the party.
Reacting, the Senator Makarfi-led
committee described it as objectionable, questionable and very strange to say
the least in the history of Nigeria’s judiciary.
It, however, said “the party is
law abiding and, therefore, will apply for stay of execution of the order and
also appeal it.”
The caretaker committee, in a
statement made available to newsmen in Abuja, on Thursday night by its
spokesman, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, said the judgment of the Federal High Court in
Port Harcourt was very clear that the committee was duly constituted and recognized,
and in line with that, the scheduled national convention for August 17 would
“We have just received
information that Justice Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja has granted
an order of interlocutory injunction stopping our scheduled national convention
in Port Harcourt, but we want to state that the judgment of July 4, 2016
supersedes any ex parte order or interlocutory injunctions. So, our national
convention will hold as scheduled in Port Harcourt, Rivers State,” the
It asked Nigerians and the
international community to compel the judiciary to address Justice Abang’s
excesses, adding that as a law abiding party, the committee would apply for
stay of execution and also appealed the judgment.