Ondo PDP crisis shifts to Appeal Court
As the leadership crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) continued, the Chairman, Caretaker committee of the Party and its secretary, Senators Ahmed Makarfi and Ben Obi, respectively yesterday, filed a motion against the factional chairman of the Party, Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff at the Court of Appeal, Abuja.
Makarfi and his co-applicants were seeking to be allowed to appeal the June 29 judgment of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Both Makarfi and Obi in their motion, prayed the court for leave to appeal the judgment as interested parties.
Other prayers by the applicant’s include extension of time within which to appeal as well as extension of time within which to file notice of appeal.
Representing the acting chairman of the party, Ali Modu Sheriff and eight other respondents in the matter, was Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN).
He urged the court to reject the application for being incompetent, adding that for the applicant to be given the leave of court to appeal as an interested party, there has to be a prayer, seeking the leave of court to file a notice and grounds of appeal.
“The application is incompetent because the first prayer to the legal backing to the trinity prayer is missing. The inability of the applicant to make such prayer before the trinity prayers renders the application incompetent,” he said.
The three-member panel of justices of the appellate court headed by Justice Hannatu Sankey, after listening to submissions reserved ruling, to a date that would be communicated to parties in the matter.
There was however, a clash between Robert Emukpero and Olagoke Fakunle in the appeal filed by the PDP and Prince Biyi Poroye against 1 to 9 Respondents over who is to represent the party in the appeal.
The court had adjourned till today (Saturday) for the counsel to regularise their appearance in the matter and to continue in the hearing of the appeal.
Meanwhile, hearing in the appeal No:. CA/A/551c/2016, which Eyitayo Jegede filed has been slated till Tuesday, November 2.
Justice Abang, in the judgment delivered on June 29 upheld Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff as the authentic National Chairman of the PDP, having nullified the appointment of Ahmed Makarfi as Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the party.
Justice Abang said the purported convention held in Port Harcourt on May 21 by the Makarfi caretaker committee was a total violation of court orders.
Justice Abang also restrained the Makarfi’s caretaker committee from exercising any authority or taking any decision on behalf of the PDP henceforth on account of being an illegal body.
On the tussle between Olagoke Fakunle and Ferdinand Obi (senior advocates) locked in legal battle to represent the two factions of PDP, Abang said the Makarfi-led faction which appointed Obi had no legal authority to do so.
The Judge said the letter by the Makarfi-led faction appointing Obi to represent the party was illegal, unlawful and was set aside on the ground that the committee was null and void.
According to Abang, the committee headed by Makarfi had no law to his side to appoint a lawyer for PDP or carry out any act on behalf of the party.
He, however, upheld the appointment of Fakunle having been appointed to represent PDP by the Ali Modu sheriff led faction as the authentic legal representation.
The judge said Makarfi’s caretaker committee had missed their way by heading to the Port Harcourt division of the Federal High Court to obtain a favorable judgment.
Justice Abang said the Port Harcourt Federal High Court had the same co-ordinate jurisdiction with that of Lagos Division.
According to the Judge, the judgment of the Port Harcourt Division, which recognised the Makarfi led caretaker committee is unlawful, illegal and has no foundation in law to stand.
According to Justice Abang, anything done in contravention of the two subsisting orders are unlawful, illegal and should not be recognised.
“Makarfi-led caretaker committee as an apostle of impunity found their way to Port Harcourt to get judgment and I hold that the judgment cannot stand.
“The Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High court cannot make an order to neutralise the effectiveness and potency of orders of Lagos Division of the Federal High court.
“As at the time the Makarfi led committee found their way to Port Harcourt division of the Federal High court, the orders of the Lagos Division of the court was still subsisting.
“The Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High court, therefore, has no business to have dabbled into the issues of PDP leadership in the light of the subsisting orders issued in Lagos by a court of competent jurisdiction.
“The Supreme court has made it clear that in a situation like this, something cannot be built on nothing and in the instance, I have no liver to depart from the Supreme Court decision.
“Though I have powers to nullify the division of the Port Harcourt that recognised Makarfi leadership; 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.”
The Judge advised politicians not to cause disaffection among judges of the Federal High Court, adding that if they do so, the court has the power to call them to order.
He also said that the culture of impunity must stop in this country.
Justice Abang also said that any decision outside the Sheriff led committee is illegal, unlawful and is not binding on the party.