The ongoing leadership crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may have been fanned in ‘intense’ flames on Thursday after a Federal High Court in Abuja dismissed the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee of the party, saying it is illegal.
The dismissal is coming on the back of a preliminary ruling by the court, in an application filed on July 4 by the Ali Modu Sheriff-faction of the party, seeking to stop the national convention of the party, which was planned by the Makarfi faction and scheduled for August 17.
In his ruling, the presiding judge, Justice Okon Abang, held that every action the Committee had taken since it emerged through a convention the party purportedly held in Port Harcourt on May 21, amounted to a nullity.
The judge said: “Parties have an uncompromising duty to obey court order until it is set aside. The Lagos Division made orders on May 12 and 20, forbidding the PDP from removing the Sheriff-led Caretaker Committee. That order is still subsisting.
“Having regard to the order of the court, PDP had no lawful authority to hold the convention that led to the emergence of the Markafi-led Committee.
“The convention was unlawfully held and the Caretaker Committee was unlawfully and illegally appointed and could not take any legal decision for the PDP in view of the subsisting order of the Lagos Division of this court.
“Consequently, any action taken by the Markafi-led Committee, including the purported mandate for legal representation in this matter is hereby declared illegal.
“If the Markafi-led Caretaker Committee, as apostles of impunity, missed their way to the Port Harcourt division of this court, that court could not have conveniently assumed jurisdiction to set aside the earlier decision of the Lagos Division.
“I hold that the Port Harcourt division of this court cannot make an order to neutralise the potency of the Lagos Division of this court dated 12 and 20 May“.
Justice Abang cautioned politicians not to cause disaffection among judges of the High Court, saying “the culture of impunity must stop in this country”.
“Ali Modu Sheriff is the National Chairman of the PDP. Any decision not taken by the Sheriff-led Committee is not binding on the PDP”.