No Court Stopped Our August Convention – Makarfi | Independent Newspapers Limited
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No Court Stopped Our August Convention – Makarfi

Posted: Jul 29, 2016 at 8:58 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

*As Modu-Sheriff ask NJC to remove any erring Judge.

*Both parties resume reconciliation talk.



The National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said on Friday that the order made by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Thursday did not in anyway validate Ali Modu-Sheriff as the National Chairman of the party, nor did it nullify the planned August 17 National convention slated for Port-Harcourt.

Reacting to news which went viral on Thursday that the court has ordered the stoppage of the convention, the committee headed by Senator Ahmed Makarfi said during a press conference addressed by Prince Dayo Adeyeye, said that the issue of the August 17 convention was not tabled before Justice Abang, and no ruling was made on it.

He quoted conspicuously from the Court ruling to back his claim that the judge did not make any pronouncement ordering the stoppage of the convention.

Earlier at another press conference, Modu-Sheriff had commended the order given by Justice Abang on the crisis rocking the party.

A copy of the bench ruling as signed by Justice Abang, made available to newsmen clearly showed that the issue settled by the judge was actually on the identity of the legal representation of PDP in a case before the same court.

Justice Abang in the ruling rejected the lawyers sent by Makarfi to represent the PDP in the case before him, but accepted the lawyers nominated by Modu-Sheriff to represent the party.

Incidentally, Modu-Sheriff and eight others were the plaintiffs in the case while PDP was the second defendant.

The Makarfi committee sent in Ferdinand Orbih (SAN) to be the legal representative of PDP in the case instituted by Modu-Sheriff against the PDP, but the court rejected the nomination.

However, it accepted O.O. Fakunle (SAN) nominated by Modu-Sheriff as the legal representative of PDP in the suit in which Modu-Sheriff as plaintiff is suing the PDP.

The caretaker committee insisted that it is wrong for a plaintiff in a case to be the one who will nominate the lawyer that will represent the interest of the defendant.

In explaining what transpired in the court, Adeyeye said, “Now on the widely reported ‘ORDERS’ purported to have been made by Hon. Justice Okon Abang, it is important to note the following:

The motion seeking to restrain the PDP from conducting the proposed 17th August, 2016 National Convention has not been heard by the Court and no date has been fixed for the hearing of same.”

*What was before the Court yesterday was the issue of who is the authentic legal Counsel for the PDP as between Ferdinand Orbih, SAN and O.O. Fakunle, SAN.

“The Court in determining the question of Legal representation held that the appointment of O.O. Fakunle, SAN by Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff was acceptable to the Court.

“It must be emphasized that at no stage did the Hon. Judge set aside the judgement of Justice A.M. Liman of the Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court, which could have led to the dissolution of the National Caretaker Committee.

“An Order validating Sheriff as National Chairman could not have arisen from the issue of proper legal representation.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the portion of the ruling relating to this is herein- under reproduced:

“Though I have powers to nullify the decision of the Port Harcourt Division that recognized Makarfi Leadership, I will not do so because there is no application to that effect before me. I will, however allow the Court of Appeal to do justice to that”

?”This is necessary because proceedings of Courts of Law should not be subject of subjective manipulation. We are a law abiding Committee and will always continue to operate within the ambit of the law.

“It is not possible in Law that a Judge of a Court of record will acknowledge the existence of a valid judgement and proceed to make the kind of Orders purportedly attributed to him.”

“Ladies and Gentlemen; it should be very clear to you now that the ruling of yesterday did not at any point hand over the Leadership of PDP to Sen. Ali Modu sheriff, it did not declare the Sen. Makarfi led Caretaker Committee illegal and did not stop the proposed 17th August, 2016 National Convention.”

Modu-Sheriff who hailed the court order by Justice Abang urged the National Judicial Commission (NJC) to punish any judge known to be giving orders and judgements that tends to cause crisis for political parties.

According to him, the orders made by justice Abang was a recognition of his (Modu-Sheriff) leadership of the party, as he described it as a demonstration of the existence of some fine judges in Nigeria.

He also called on the Nigeria Judicial Council (NJC) to remove the few erring judges who he noted were ?tarnishing the image of the judiciary.

?Sheriff said the ruling of the court had boosted his desire to wipe out impunity even as he announced his readiness to take the PDP to its original owners at the grass-root level.

He also disclosed that he would convened an expanded caucus meeting of the PDP which he said would comprise the Board of Trustees (BoT), National Assembly Caucus, state chairmen to chart the next line of action.

However, facts emerged yesterday that reconciliation efforts are ongoing within the party even as both sides held on to their guns, claiming headship of the party.

Indication towards this emerged yesterday when a ?a top PDP chieftain, Senator Buruji Kashamu, openly confirmed that a re-conciliatory process had commenced between the two groups.

Kashamu who held ?a 30-minutes closed door meeting with Sheriff at the latter’s office in Maitama area of Abuja, disclosed to journalist that he was not a member of any of the camps.

He explained that his mission to Sheriff’s place that of mediation.

” I came to mediate; I belong to the two of them. I have been talking to the two groups. He (Sheriff) is an easy going man, he wants the party to move forward. In the next three days everything will be over.” Kashamu declared.

Spokesman of the ?caretaker committee, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, in confirming the reconciliation moves said at the caretaker committee organize press conference yesterday that the committee was not opposed to any peace efforts just as he declared that party members had started talking to one another after Thursday’s court ruling in Abuja.

He lamented the embarrassing manner in which courts were being manipulated by politicians in the country pointing out that in the end all issues will be resolved politically.

“We are tired as caretaker committee because of the way politicians are using courts to interfere in our operations. We are not averse ?to political settlement. Our doors are open for any peace talk”

He however, stressed that the caretaker committee was still working towards a successful conduct of the August national convention in Port Harcourt amidst political or legal movements.