The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the election of a former Kaduna State governor, Ahmed Makarfi, as the authentic chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, after a protracted legal battle that ruptured the unity of the party.
A three-member panel of the court presided by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, upbraided Mr. Makarfi’s contender, Ali Sheriff, for demonstrating “infantile desperation to lead the party.”
Reading out the judgement after weeks of compilation, a member of the panel, Rhodes Vivour, said Mr. Sheriff was not within the category of an ‘unimpeachable leader’, stressing that the removal of the former governor was not necessarily expected to follow a vote of no confidence.
Mr. Vivour added that there was no clause in the constitution of the party that made it mandatory for Mr. Sheriff to be removed’ using a vote of no confidence.
“He demonstrated an infantile desperation to lead the PDP by filing almost 10 different applications in various courts. They shall forever gather dust in judicial archives,” the judge said, referring to the various applications filed by Mr Sheriff regarding the matter over the last few months of intense legal wrangling.
Mr. Vivour cited relevant sections of the PDP constitution which made it imperative for members of the party to respect the proceedings of the PDP national convention.
“The subject matter in the issue is Article 33; 35 and 47,’’ said Mr. Vivour, who then went ahead to state the contents of the aforementioned articles.
“There shall be a national convention. All members of the party shall be bound by the decisions of leaders from the National convention. Article 33 states the supremacy of the National convention.”
Mr. Vivour added that the PDP constitution allows the deputy national leader of the party to stand in for his principal adding that “when Mr Sheriff abandoned the national convention in May 2016, the party asked his deputy to stand in for him, making his attendance noted at the convention.”
The apex court further said that although the PDP constitution allows the party to remove the National leader after two years through a vote of no confidence, the word used to denote Vote of no confidence was ‘may’, which does not signify compulsory adherence.
“May is not the same thing as shall,” therefore “a national officer could be removed without a vote of no confidence.”
“There can be no doubt that the National convention has enormous powers over the party,” said Mr. Vivour, who thus faulted the lower court for declaring the conduct of the national convention as illegal.
The apex court subsequently ordered Mr. Sheriff to pay a fine of N250,000 for abuse of court processes.Premium Times