Alleged Contempt: Sheriff Threatens To Jail Makarfi, Others

Ali Modu Sheriff, Ahmed Makarfi, PDP, PDP Crisis
PDP National Chairman, Ali Modu Sheriff

The crisis rocking the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) does not appear to be abating, even with the judgement of the Court of Appeal.

The National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, has asked the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to jail his rival Senator Ahmed Makarfi, and some of his loyalists over what he described as ‘contempt of court’.

The former Borno State Governor and the PDP National Secretary, Professor Wale Oladipo, accused Senator Makarfi and others of flouting the order of the court which was delivered on February 17, 2017.

The Appeal Court had in addition to pronouncing Sheriff as the PDP National Chairman, ruled that the removal of the National Working Committee was wrong while the constitution of the caretaker committee was illegal.

Apart from the former Kaduna State Governor, Senator Sheriff also listed three other prominent leaders of the party as those to be jailed by the appellate court.

Others named as alleged contemnors are the two other members of the sacked National Caretaker Committees, Senator Ben Obi (secretary) and Mr Dayo Adeyeye (publicity secretary), and a former Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode.

In the suit with APPEAL NO: CA/PH/349/2016, Sheriff asked the court to commit the four persons to prison for one year over the alleged contempt.

Apart from the four contemnors, he also listed a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Emeka Ihedioha; a former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana; Chairman, Board of Trustees of the party, Senator Walid Jibrin; and an aspirant to the office of the party’s national chairman, Mr Bode George, as alleged contemnors.

Close Down Factional Secretariat

The PDP National Chairman, however, did not pray the court to commit Ihedioha, Gana, Jibrin and George to prison.

Rather, he asked the court for an order restraining them from “proclaiming or otherwise holding out to the public that the first to third alleged contemnors are national officers of the PDP for any purpose whatsoever”.

Listed as defendants in the case are the PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the Department of State Services (DSS).

Senator Sheriff and Professor Oladipo asked the court to stop Senator Makarfi and his group from parading themselves as national officers of the party.

PDP, Ahmed Makarfi
Senator Ahmed Makarfi

They also asked the court to direct the IGP and the DSS to close down the factional secretariat being operated by the Makarfi group.

Apart from that, the duo prayed the court not to transmit the records of the court proceedings to Markarfi and his group, saying they didn’t have the permission of the party to get it.

Defy Court Order

Oladipo, who signed an affidavit in support of the claim, stated that on February 17, “soon after the judgment was delivered, the alleged contemnors proceeded to address the media and to comment negatively, contemptuously, disparagingly and contumeliously on the findings and order of the court set out above.

“Rather than accept that the justice of the matter as determined by this honourable court was as expressed in the findings, holdings and order set out above, the fourth to eighth alleged contemnors made statements encouraging the first to third respondents to defy the order of the court and flout the purpose of the court’s judgment delivered on the 17th of February 2017,” he said.

The PDP National Secretary claimed that it was on this basis that the alleged contemnors placed notices in newspapers, where they convened a meeting of what they called “PDP stakeholders.

“The said meeting was held on Monday, February 20, and was attended by the fourth to eighth alleged contemnors, who made further statements encouraging the first to third alleged contemnors to defy the holdings and order of the court”.

Purpose Of The Judgment

The motion on notice for the committal of the alleged contemnors was filed by eight lawyers, led by a former Minister of Justice, Akin Olujimi, who was joined by two other Senior Advocates of Nigeria – Dr. Alex Izinyon and B. E. Nwofor – among others.

“The actions of the alleged contemnors, as shown in the affidavit in support of this application, have the effort of flouting the purpose of the judgment of this Honourable court, which purpose is to properly regulate the exercise of powers by the alleged contemnors against the applicants and first respondent; avoid any further anarchy, lawlessness and deepening crisis capable of heating up the Nigerian polity; and establish the requirements of the rule of law and due process in the administration of justice.

“Although the alleged contemnors were not parties to the action in court, it is our humble submission that they have a responsibility to ensure that they do not aid and abet the disobedience of the judgment order or treat the said judgment with disdain and disrespect,” the lawyers stated.

Senator Markarfi and the other faction of the party are believed to have filed an application seeking for stay of execution of the judgment and leave for appeal.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of Sheriff’s case, which was filed on February 24, 2017.‎

PDP BoT, Mantu Group Endorse Caretaker Committee

PDP BoTThe Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)  has endorsed the caretaker committee set up by the party’s convention last Saturday in the Rivers State capital, Port Harcourt.

Also, another faction of the party, known as the concerned stakeholders group, which held a parallel convention in Abuja same day, has teamed up with the PDP caretaker committee headed by Senator Ahmed Makarfi.

Both the BOT and the factional group, led by Ibrahim Mantu, made this known at the end of their peace meeting in Abuja on Thursday.

They also directed their members to withdraw pending cases from the courts and set up a committee to meet former acting National Chairman of the party, Ali Modu Sheriff.

Thursday’s meeting followed counter court orders which restrained the factional leaders, Senators Sheriff and Markafi from assuming the mantle of leadership of the party.

In one case, a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt granted an interim injunction restraining Senator Sheriff and former secretary, Professor Adewale Oladipo from parading themselves as national officers of the party.

But in a counter ruling, a Federal High Court in Lagos declared as invalid, the Makarfi-led caretaker committee constituted to take over the affairs of the PDP.

Ali Modu Sheriff, Obi Meet With PDP BoT

PDP, Ali Modu Sheriff, PDP BoTThe Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are meeting with Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and Senator Ahmed Makarfi.

Reports say that the meeting has been convened to put a halt to the crisis that the party is presently facing.

After briefly inter-facing with both parties, Ali Modu Sheriff, Ahmed Makarfi and Ben Obi were asked to excuse the BoT.

Thursday’s meeting comes after counter court orders restrained the parallel leaders from assuming the mantle of leadership of the party.

In one case, a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt granted an interim injunction restraining the immediate past National Chairman and National Secretary of the PDP, Ali Modu Sheriff and Professor Adewale Oladipo, from parading themselves as national officers of the party.

But in a counter ruling, a Federal High Court in Lagos declared as invalid, the Caretaker Committee constituted to take over the affairs of the PDP from its acting National Chairman, Ali Modu Sheriff.

Court Stops S/West PDP Zonal Congress

Kwara State, PDPThe Federal High Court in Lagos has restrained the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its national chairman, Ali Modu Sherrif, from conducting any election into the party’s Southwest Zonal Executive Committee.

Justice Ibrahim Buba also barred PDP from recognising any such election until the originating summons is determined.

The zonal congress was scheduled to hold on May 14 in Akure, Ondo State and Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State.

The judge made the order following an application by the incumbent Zonal Secretary, Chief ‘Pegba Otemolu.

He is suing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), PDP, Sheriff and PDP National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo.

The plaintiff is praying the court to hold that it was wrong for the party and its national officers to contemplate organising a zonal congress for the Southwest when the tenure of the Zonal Executive Committee members had not lapsed.

He contended that since members of the zonal EXCO were elected on October 11, 2014 to serve a four year tenure, their term would end on October 11, 2018.

Granting the plaintiff’s prayer, Justice Buba held “that an order of interlocutory injunction is granted to the Plaintiff/Applicant restraining the second, third and fourth defendants from conducting or permitting or recognizing any election into the offices of the South West Zonal Executive Committee pending the hearing and determination of the Originating Summons.”

The implication is that the Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe-led zonal EXCO will continue in office until the suit is determined.

Justice Buba adjourned till May 24 for hearing.

PDP Governors Reject Secondus, Appoint Adewale As Chairman

pdpGovernors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have asked Chief Uche Secondus to step aside as acting National Chairman of the party.

The have also directed Professor Oladipo Adewale, who has been the party’s National Secretary to assume office as National Chairman.

Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Governor Olusegun Mimiko, said that the governors condemn the action of Mr Ahmed Gulak, for invading the party’s secretariat in Abuja.

Governor Mimiko noted that the appropriate organ of the party would soon commence the process of electing a new National Chairman from the northeast in compliance with the December court judgement.

Mr Gulak and his supporters including Dr. Doyin Okupe, stormed the National Secretariat of the party in Abuja on Wednesday where he told a news conference that he was assuming office as the National Chairman of the party.

He claimed that he had a court judgement in his favour.