Court Bars Sheriff From Parading Himself As PDP chairman

imageA Federal High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Monday, granted an interim injunction restraining the immediate past acting national chairman and national secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, and Professor Adewale Oladipo, respectively, from parading themselves as national officers of the party.

This followed a motion ex-parte, dated and filed on May 23, 2016, by PDP before the Federal High Court, joining Sheriff, Oladipo, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Inspector General of Police and the Department of State Service (DSS) as defendants/respondents.

The duo were removed from office via the PDP national convention, held in Port Harcourt, last Saturday and in which a caretaker committee, headed by Senator Ahmad Makarfi, was put in place to oversee the affairs of the party for the next 90 days.

The presiding judge, Justice A. M. Liman, granted the restraining order, pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice brought before the court by PDP.

The court gave the order upon reading the Affidavit of Urgency in support of the motion ex-parte sworn to by Rivers PDP chairman, Mr Felix Obuah and after hearing from the PDP counsel, Dejo Laminkanra, SAN.

The trial judge ordered that the first and second respondents or any/or all of the PDP national officers, its NEC and NWC members, who had been removed from office through the national convention should restrain from parading themselves, either individually or collectively, in those capacities, pending the determination of the Motion on Notice.

Justice Liman also ordered that INEC should stop according recognition to the first and second respondents or any and/or all the PDP national officers, NEC and NWC members, having been removed from office in those capacities.

He ordered INEC to, instead, recognise the PDP caretaker committee appointed by the national convention held in Port Harcourt, last Saturday, as the executive authority of the party in all matters pertaining to PDP.

The matters, he said, included the conduct of primary elections for political offices and the submission of PDP’s list of candidates for any elections to be conducted by INEC, pending the heating and determination of the Motion on Notice.

Justice Liman also gave an order restraining the first and second respondents from receiving nominations and/or submitting names to INEC as officers or candidates of the party, pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.

INEC was also restrained from accepting and or considering any nominations, names or documents submitted, signed and or endorsed by the first and second respondents, pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.

Reacting to the court order, Emmanuel Aguma, SAN, chairman, PDP Convention Screening Committee and Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Rivers State, on Tuesday, said it would ensure stability of the party.

“As it were, what the order has done was to preserve the gains, albeit temporarily, of the convention and to try and move the party forward so that the party would know how it can stabilise itself.

“As you might well know, I was the chairman of the PDP National Convention Screening Committee in Port Harcourt. I am aware that PDP, yesterday (Monday), went to court to file an action against the national officers of the party who were removed at the national convention.

“Essentially, the gist of the interim orders can be summarised as follows: One, that the removed national officers should not parade in that office or parade themselves as officers of the party, PDP;

“Two, that the national PDP National Working Committee (NWC) and the National Executive Council (NEC) should not function as organs of the party, pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.

“Similar to that was the recognition of the caretaker committee, constitutionally set up at the convention and the caretaker committee was empowered to conduct primaries, if need be, within this interim period and to submit any such candidate to INEC and INEC was restrained from receiving any document in any manner however, dealing with the removed officers,” he said.

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