The Supreme Court yesterday ruled against the factional leader of
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ali-Modu Sheriff in his application,
challenging the competence of the appeal filed by his challenger, Ahmed
Sheriff had prayed the apex court to refuse hearing the application
filed by Makarfi, challenging the February 17 judgment of the Appeal
Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State which made him (Sheriff) leader of
the PDP. He argued that the application by Makarfi was filed outside the
period allowed by law.
For the PDP to be able to serve as a strong opposition to keep the government in power on its toes, the crisis rocking the party should be resolved. This will facilitate reconciliation that will
unite the party to perform its role in the nation’s democracy. Sheriff’s counsel, Akin Olujimi (SAN) said the application was an abuse
of court process because Makarfi ought to have requested the leave of
court before making the application. He therefore prayed the court to
But Makarfi’s counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), prayed the court
to disregard Olujimi’s argument, describing it as baseless. In a short
ruling, a five-member panel of the apex court led by the Chief Justice
of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, dismissed Sheriff’s argument, saying
the appeal was filed within the time limit. Justice Onnoghen held that
Makarfi’s application was valid since it complied with the rules of the
He added that an application challenging a decision of a lower court
ought to be filed within three months, following the ruling of the lower
court, and this, he stated, was complied with by the appellants.
Onnoghen therefore agreed with Olanipekun that the said judgment, having been delivered on February 17, and the notice of appeal filed at the Supreme Court on April 24, it met the appeal timeframe, thereby making it competent.
Meanwhile, the apex court has reserved judgment in the substantive
suit on the lingering leadership crisis between the Sheriff-led National
Executive Council (NEC) and that of Markarfi. The judgement date will
be communicated to parties involved in the suit.
Yesterday’s hearing was originally scheduled for May 25 but was
brought forward because of the need to attend to numerous pending
matters before judges embark on their 2017 annual recess.
During the hearing of the substantive appeal yesterday, the party’s
National Executive Committee (NEC) led by Sheriff as chairman and Prof.
Wale Oladipo as the secretary argued that the Makarfi-led caretaker
committee, having been declared illegal by the February 17 judgment of the Court of Appeal, Port
Harcourt Division, lacked the powers to take decisions on behalf of the
party, including initiating court proceedings in its name.
Source Guardian Nrewspaper.