- Makarfi: Ousted chairman bent on destroying party
- INEC expresses ignorance over Sheriff’s letter on party’s convention
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The ousted National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, has asked members of the party to disregard the plans for a fresh national convention on August 17 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
This came as the Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has said the latest attempt by Sheriff and his cohorts is not only to scuttle the forthcoming national convention but also another clear evidence of his determination to destroy the PDP.
Sheriff has also written to the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), asking the commission to completely ignore a letter by the Makarfi-led PDP caretaker committee notifying it of a proposed PDP national convention.
In a letter dated August 2, 2016, the former governor of Borno State, reminded the commission that the Makarfi-led caretaker committee is illegal and has no powers under the PDP constitution to convene the party’s national convention.
The letter which was submitted at INEC wednesday pointedly informed the commission that the only body that can call for and ratify activities culminating to a national convention of the party is the National Executive Committee (NEC) headed by Sheriff as the National Chairman as enshrined in Article 31 (2)(a) of the Constitution of the PDP.
Sheriff said the commission and the public should know that the PDP is not planning any national convention as he has not been so authorised by the NEC.
He cautioned that any person or group of persons planning for an event is doing so as an illegal body and in direct contempt of valid court orders.
The letter titled: “Re: ‘Notification of Ward Congresses and National Convention’ which was signed by Sheriff and the PDP National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo, stated “Kindly refer to a letter dated July 20, 2016, by the illegal PDP Caretaker Committee purported to notify INEC of a proposed ward congresses to nominate 3 ad-hoc delegates on August 10, 2016, and local government congresses to nominate national delegates on August 12, 2016, for a repeat of the national convention, and slated for y August 17, 2016.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the only body that can call for and ratify activities culminating to a national convention of our great party, the PDP, is the NEC of the party headed by Senator Sheriff as National Chairman.
“This is enshrined in Article 31 (2) (a) of our party’s constitution-The National Executive Committee shall ‘convene the national convention and appoint a convention organising committee which shall circulate the convention information in advance and ensure that the concerns of the membership are reflected on the agenda. Prepare reports and budgets for approval of the national convention.
“The Sheriff-led PDP is not planning any national convention as he has not been so authorised by the party’s NEC. Any person or group of persons planning for an event is doing so as an illegal body and in direct contempt of valid court orders. This letter is to kindly put you on notice to ignore any such notifications by the illegal Makarfi-led caretaker committee.”
Meanwhile, Makarfi, in a statement issued yesterday by the spokesman of the caretaker committee, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, urged the INEC to disregard the protest letter submitted by Senator Sheriff against the holding of the August 17 PDP national convention.
“We call on INEC to disregard the letter from Sheriff and his cohorts. It belongs to the garbage bin. He is merely acting the script of his paymasters. The caretaker committee will continue with its dogged determination to organise the best national convention in the history of our great party.
“The ruling of Justice Okon Abang which Ali Modu Sheriff is relying on is a mere narrative of the Case before the Federal High Courts in Lagos and in Port Harcourt Divisions. It does not set aside or nullify the Judgment of Justice Liman which has authenticated the May 21 national convention and the resolutions emanating therefrom.
“The ruling did not anywhere direct INEC to do anything or not to do anything, to discharge or not to discharge any obligation; to perform any function or not to perform any function.
“In essence, it is a mere legal tale and the Order having been made without any application before him by either of the parties has no foundation in law.
“Hon. Justice Valerie Arshi had in a Judgment nullified the appointment of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as Chairman of the Party. That Judgment has not been set aside. It is still valid and subsisting. And no Court of Coordinate Jurisdiction including the Federal High Court can make any other Order with the intention of rendering that Judgment ineffective.
The National Convention which held in Port Harcourt on May 21st 2016 which resolutions were confirmed by Justice Liman of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt on July 4, 2016 dissolved the National Executive Committee (NEC) and the National Working Committee (NWC) and affirmed the National Caretaker Committee as the Supreme body to run the affairs of the Party until another Convention was held within 90 days.
“That being the case, it was therefore the last Convention that in fact convened the forthcoming one slated for August 17, 2016, and not the National Caretaker Committee parse. The National Convention is superior to all other Organs of the Party,” he said.
However, the INEC has said it is yet to receive any letter from Sheriff.
INEC’s Director in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwala Osaze-Uzzi, said in a telephone interview yesterday evening that the commission would study the various court orders regarding the leadership crisis before deciding whether to monitor the convention or not.
“When we consider the judgements and orders given by the courts we will decide whether to monitor it or not,” he said.
Osaze further added: “If there is a letter calling for valid convention we have the duty to go but if there is a court order stopping us from going then we have to obey court order.”