Sheriff, Oladipo, Metuh, Ask Court to Stop PDP Convention

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  • Party youths protest alleged plans to scuttle national convention

Tobi Soniyi in Abuja

A Federal High Court in Abuja will thursday hear an application for interlocutory injunction seeking among others, an order stopping the national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scheduled for August 17.

The judge, Justice Okon Abang had on Tuesday, granted the applicants, who are mostly members of the Ali Modu-Sheriff faction of the party, leave to have the application heard during the court’s long vacation.

The applicants are Sheriff, Prof. Wale Oladapo (National Secretary); Dennis Alonge-Niyi (Deputy National Youth Leader); Alhaji Bashir Maidugu (Deputy National Legal Adviser); Mrs. Hanatu Ulam (Deputy National Women Leader); Alhaji Lawa Dutsima Anchi (Deputy National Auditor); Chief Okey Nnadozie (Deputy National Organising Secretary) and Chief Olisa Metuh (National Publicity Secretary).

Named as respondents are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the PDP as the defendants.

The applicants said the interlocutory injunction was intended to preserve the substance of the case pending the determination of a substantive suit they filed on July 4, 2016, in which they argued among others, that by virtue of the PDP Constitution, their tenure would expire in 2018.
The nine plaintiffs said they filed the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/464/2016 for themselves and on behalf of the Executive Committee/National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP.

The Sheriff faction of the party filed the interlocutory application on July 20 shortly after the Ahmed Makarfi faction announced August 17 for the party’s national convention.

They are asking the court to stop the party from going ahead with the national convention pending the determination of their substantive suit.

Justice Abang had, while granting the applicants’ motion ex-parte for leave to have the application heard during vacation, said he ordinarily would not have granted it, but for the urgency involved.

“It is deserving to be heard during the vacation by the judge nominated by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court. But whether it will succeed is another issue entirely,” the judge said.
He scheduled hearing of the application for today and directed that the issuance of hearing notices on both respondents – the PDP and INEC.

The PDP National Youth Movement, has protested what it alleged to be a plot to use the Federal High Court to scuttle the rescheduled PDP national convention.

The placard-carrying youths, who formed the movement, staged the protest outside the premises of the Federal High Court in Abuja wednesday.

The National Director of the movement, Mr. Ohazuruike Tochukwu, told journalists that they were at the court to present a petition to the Chief Judge, Justice Ibrahim Auta.

Tochukwu said they were worried because the judge, who the case was before, had earlier recognised Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff as the PDP chairman.

He urged Auta to intervene, adding that the matter before the court had already been determined by a similar court in Port Harcourt and that dissatisfied parties could only go on appeal.
The petition indicated that multiple cases were instituted by several parties in various divisions of the Federal High Court and the FCT High Court.

The petition, which was obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), indicated that the cases were scrambling for the leadership of the PDP.

“So far, in all the cases, the FCT High Court has given judgment in two of the suit and the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, has given judgment in one.

“The court validated the dissolution of the PDP NWC by the National Convention and held that the holding of the convention on May 21 did not violate any order of court.
“From the totality of three judgments already delivered, Sheriff ceased to be the chairman of the party,’’ the petition stated.

It further said in spite of the judgment of the Port Harcourt Federal High Court sacking Sheriff as PDP chairman, he proceeded to commence another suit in Abuja.
It, therefore, sought an injunction restraining the PDP from holding its convention and to stop INEC from monitoring the convention.

When contacted Metuh stated that he is not even aware of any suit to stop the convention and stated categorically that he did not file any such suit.