Court Sacks Modu-Sheriff As PDP Chairman | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Court Sacks Modu-Sheriff As PDP Chairman

PDP, Modu-Sheriff, Police
Posted: Jun 30, 2016 at 6:20 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


…Good for PDP–Caretaker Committee

…We Will Appeal Judgment—Sheriff Group

…Party Gets Second Guber Candidate In Edo



Rotimi Akinwumi and Francis Onoiribholo

An Abuja High Court on Wednesday declared as “null and void” the process that produced a former Borno State governor, Ali Modu-Sheriff, as chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Justice Valentine Ashi faulted the amended to the PDP constitution in 2014, which led to the emergence of Modu-Sheriff as the party’s chairman, after the resignation of former Bauchi State governor, Adamu Muazu.

The amendment had zoned the office of the national chairman of the party to the North East.

In his ruling, Justice Ashi said the amendment was a violation of the Electoral Act and described the actions of the PDP leaders who partook in the amendment as illegal.

The National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday expressed satisfaction with the court judgment which sacked Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff as national chairman of the party.

The committee, however, advised the former national chairman to retrace his steps and join hands with it to move PDP forward.

However, while the caretaker committee jubilates, the embattled former national chairman is set to file a stay of execution and appeal against the judgment.

One of his loyalists disclosed that the National Working Committee under the control of Modu-Sheriff will obtain a copy of the said judgment and take immediate action.

Prof. Wale Oladipo, former national secretary of the party who is still functioning in the office of national secretary under the Modu-Sheriff led PDP faction, has said the court didn’t sack Modu-Sheriff, but only made pronouncements on some constitutional amendments made by the party.

Secretary of the Caretaker Committee, Senator Ben Obi, however, in an interview described the judgment as a welcome development.

“We expect more positive court rulings in the days ahead in favour of our party?. It is time for them to face the truth and retrace their steps,” Obi said.

He called on Modu-Sheriff and his supporters to stop their hard line posture and cooperate with the caretaker committee to move the party forward.

“We believe that truth must be upheld; we want all hands to be on deck to chart the way forward,” he added.

A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt will also on Monday, July 4 give ruling on the leadership crisis in PDP.

Speaking with Independent one of Sheriff’s loyalists described the joy of the caretaker committee members as coming too early.

The source admitted that he has not been able to reach Modu-Sheriff since few hours after the judgment was delivered, but added that plan had already been made even before the judgment was delivered to file an immediate appeal should the court pronouncement be unfavourable to their cause.

“Only a novice will not expect us to file an appeal against the judgment. We had actually prepared for it ahead as we knew that anything can come out of the court.

“We know that our enemies within the party are not sleeping but working day and night to rob the authentic national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ali Modu-Sheriff of his mandate, but we are also prepared to give them a big fight and rescue the party from their grip.

“I want to believe you are aware of the fact that the leaders of the party in the states, I mean the party state chairmen were with the national chairman on Tuesday in Abuja where they passed a vote of confidence on him without being forced to.

“Ali Modu-Sheriff is in charge of PDP as the national chairman, and like the court had also pronounced he remains the chairman of PDP until 2018”, the source said.

Prof Oladipo in a statement issue on Wednesday said the court judgment was being misinterpreted.

“Our attention has been drawn to reports circulating in the media that a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court has ousted the national chairman of the PDP, Sen. Ali-Modu Sheriff.

“This is completely false and a clear misrepresentation of the ruling of the court as it never gave any ruling ousting the national chairman.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the court only heard and delivered judgment on a matter concerning certain amendments in the PDP constitution, which has nothing to do with the election of Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff as the national chairman or even that of his predecessor, Alhaji Adamu Muazu.

“Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff was duly elected as the national chairman of the PDP. He still holds office as the national chairman and has not been removed by any court.

“We, therefore, urge those misleading the media and the unsuspecting public to desist from such. The media is also urged to always cross-check their facts before going to press”.

However, the position taken on the court pronouncement by Oladipo runs contrary to what the presiding judge gave as his ruling.

The trial judge, Justice Valantine Ashi, in a judgment he delivered, ?held that Modu-Sheriff’s ascension to office was unlawful as it was based on amended provision of the PDP ?constitution said to be illegally introduced in December 2014.

?Though the court did not specifically mention Modu-Sheriff’s name, it made an order restraining all persons who became national officers of the party by virtue of the amended Article 47, Rule 6 of the party’s constitution, from further parading themselves in the said capacities.

The judge nullified the amendment of the said provision which he held was done in violation of the mandatory provisions of Article 66 (2) and (3) of the party’s constitution.

He declared as “unconstitutional, null and void”, the purported amendment of Article 47 Rule 6 of PDP Constitution, 2012, at a special National Convention the party held on Wednesday and Thursday, December 10 and 11, 2014.

The court voided the said amendment on the basis that there was no compliance with mandatory provisions of Article 66 (2) and (3) of the PDP constitution.

Justice Ashi said, “By reason of the above, the purported amendments introduced to the constitution on the aforesaid dates, are hereby set-aside.

“All persons, individuals, servants or agents of PDP parading themselves as national officers of the PDP pursuant to the purported amendment which has now been nullified are hereby restrained from further parading themselves in these capacities”, Justice Ashi held.

By the amendment of 2014, effected on Article 47 Paragraph 6 of the PDP Constitution, the party amended the provision which says in case of any vacancy, the party NEC can appoint an acting chairman from the area or zone where the last occupant of the offices comes from “pending when election is conducted”  to reflect that where there is a vacancy, the acting chairman shall “serve the tenure of the officer”, who left before the expiration of the tenure.

Meanwhile, for the second time in two weeks, the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, hosted Edo State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) delegates where another governorship candidate, Matthew Iduorikenmwen, emerged as the party’s governorship candidate for the September 10 election.

The primary election which was to be contested by two aspirants – Matthew Iduorikenmwen and Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma – later had only one as Agbonanyinma announced that he was stepping down for Iduorikenmwen and called on all PDP faithful to join hands to wrest power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

It was, however, discovered that there was no presence of officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the event.

The Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the PDP set up by Ali Modu-Sheriff, Ebenezer Alabi, said the winner of their primary election remained the authentic candidate of the party and that members of the party and the voting public should disregard any other candidate parading himself as the candidate of the party.

The same Edo PDP had on Monday, June 20, held a similar election in the same venue where Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu emerged as winner and governorship candidate.

Iduorikemwen also participated in that exercise.

Regardless, factional leader of the party, Ali Modu-Sheriff, announced the following day that the primaries which produced Pastor Ize-Iyamu as the party’s governorship candidate was illegal.

Sheriff described the primaries as “a contraption of an illegal caretaker committee” and urged members nationwide, especially in Edo State to disregard it.

The factional leader advised INEC to disregard the Monday, June 20 primaries, assuring that the party would organise a proper primary election.

Sheriff made known his views in a letter to the chairman of INEC.

Sheriff’s claim was a fall-out of the acrimonious rivalry that had bedevilled the party at the centre, and it has seen the emergence of himself and Ahmed Markafi as contending chairmen.

Pastor Ize-Iyamu is believed to have been elected by the Markafi faction.

Spokesperson for the Makarfi committee, Dayo Adeyeye, had alleged that Sheriff was being sponsored by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to scuttle PDP’s chance in the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State in addition to destabilising the party.

But Sheriff denied the allegation and insisted that members of the party begged him to be their chairman.

The scenario at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium on Wednesday was rather hazy.

There was initial confusion as to whether the election would hold as armed security men, made up of policemen, members of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSDC) and the Department of State Security (DSS) blocked the entrance to the gate of the stadium.