Respite for PDP as Court Dismisses Sheriff’s Suit

  • Ousted chairman’s camp makes overtures to governors

By Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Alex Enumah in Abuja

Respite came the way of the Ahmed Markafi-led Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as an FCT High Court sitting in Abuja, Thursday, struck out a suit by Ali Modu Sheriff seeking to be recognised as the authentic Chairman of the party.

Sheriff and 17 members of the PDP had dragged the party to court following the dissolution of the National Working Committee of the PDP at the convention of the party in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The convention was sup- posed to produce the next party executives following the expiration of the last executive.

Before the dissolution of the convention, Sheriff was the sole contestant for the chairmanship.

The convention had dis- solved the National Executive Council, National Working Committee and set up a seven-man Caretaker Com- mittee headed by Makarfi.

However, following the dissolution of the conven- tion and the setting up of a Caretaker Committee, Sheriff and 17 other members of the PDP went to court to seek an order nullifying dissolution of the convention as well as disregard the leadership of the Caretaker Committee.

However in his ruling, Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf struck out the suit for lack of merit.

The judge held that for the fact that sheriff did not seek the consent of some of the plaintiffs before joining them in the suit, the suit therefore lacked merit.

The judge stated that the submission before the court showed that some of the plaintiffs had no interest in the matter and never gave their consent.

At the court’s last sitting, the name of one of the plaintiffs, Olisa Metuh was struck out following an application by

his counsel, Henry Leonard. Earlier, counsel to Sheriff, Alex Izinyon SAN had urged the court to strike out the names of other plaintiffs on the grounds that they claimed not to be properly included

in the suit.
Apart from Metuh,

other plaintiffs in the suit had through their counsel urged the court to strike out the suit.

Sheriff’s Camp Pleads for Soft-Landing…

Meanwhile, the former vice Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, who is now the deputy national chairman of the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff- led faction, has said that they were ready to end the dispute if the party allowed Sheriff to hold a fresh convention.

He said Sheriff was not insisting on holding on to the chairmanship position, but that he felt he should not be disgraced out of office the way it was done at the ill-fated national convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

However, the position of the Sheriff’s camp came just as the National Caretaker Committee of the PDP, yesterday, reacted to the injunction granted to Ali Modu Sheriff group by Justice Abang, describing it as void and of no effect.

While addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja, Ojougboh said that the genesis of the latest crisis in the PDP is traceable to the struggle for control of the party’s structure ahead of the 2019 presidential contest.

He said the main reason some leaders of the party,

especially some governors, moved against Sheriff at the Port Harcourt convention was that they were afraid that he may not toe their line in the choice of the presidential candidate of the party in 2019.

Meanwhile, the National Caretaker Committee, led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi has said that the court injunction granted in favour of Sheriff by a Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday was done in error and as such cannot stand.

In a statement signed by the Spokesman of the Committee, Adedayo Adeyeye, the party also described Ojougboh’s postulations as lacking in credibility.

“We believe it was granted in error by misrepresentation to his Lordship. Two judgements given this week by two justices of the FCT High Court and Federal High Court are to the effect that Sheriff was never even a chairman of the PDP. He was described as a busy body in one of the judgements. How can the Court then grant an injunction to a busy body, who has no locus in the party.

“Cairo Ojougboh is a rabble rouser trying to hold on to the last straw for relevance. He was part of the stakeholders group in Abuja who were vehemently opposed to Sheriff. Now, he claims to be his ardent supporter. Where in lies his credibility? These people will keep on shopping for all man- ner of court orders. But they will fail in the end,” he said.

Sheriff had suffered series of legal set-backs in his attempt to hang on to office.