Why Supreme Court sacked Sheriff as PDP chairman

Lawyer at the Supreme Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday (12/7/17), which sacked the National Chairman of the opposition PDP, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff and declared Caretaker Committee Chairman of the party, Sen. Ahmed Makarfi as authentic leader of the party. 03464/12/7/2017/Ernest Okorie/BJO/NAN

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.

A long-drawn battle

The rift between both leaders of the party began with a ruling of a Federal High Court in Lagos on May 17 2016, which resulted in contrasting court judgements which subsequently led to troubled days for the PDP and led to the loss of many members of the former ruling party.

In the said ruling, the Federal High Court, FHC, in Lagos gave an order restraining the PDP from conducting election into some national offices at the National Convention that was to be held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State that month.

But shortly before the date of the said convention on May 21, the PDP received a different judgement from another FHC in Port Harcourt allowing the convention to hold as scheduled.

After the meeting, on May 25, two courts in Lagos and Port Harcourt gave conflicting judgements: one allowing, the other nullifying the proceedings of the meeting.

Then on August 15, Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, gave an order suspending a planned national convention of the PDP on August 17, after the Port Harcourt branch of the same court gave an order compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the police to ensure the conduct of the convention.

After months of traversing the trial courts, the Sheriff faction approached the Appeal Court in Port Harcourt to contest a decision of the lower court which on July 4, 2016 affirmed the emergence of Mr. Makarfi as the authentic leader of the PDP during the May 21 convention of the party.

Again, on February 17, the Port-Harcourt Division of the Appeal Court upturned the decision of the lower court and affirmed the appointment of Mr. Sheriff as the authentic leader of the party.

After that judgement, the Makarfi-led faction approached the Supreme Court in what could be regarded as last ditch effort to wrest control of the party from Mr. Sheriff.

The move appears to have paid off.

With the judgement, and perhaps moves to reunite factions, many political pundits are optimistic that the former vibrant party will now be able to offer a robust opposition to the ruling APC.


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  • Nwaneri

    Suddenly Senator Obi appears. Where’s he been all this time that Makarfi, Fayose, FFK have been carrying the struggle?


      There are some indivisible actors in every scenario, that is what Obi and some other yet to be seen actors and actresses are. So don’t worry about it, we PDP are One indivisible party

    • cheky

      He’s the secretary and not the public secretary, did you see the secretary of Sherrif’s faction say anything? FFK and Fayose’s comments were personal and not for the party. May be you have a personal problem with Senator Obi.

  • henry

    I suspected this judgement leaked, the large number of people that were in the court was the reason for my suspicious.

  • admin

    Can the PDP snatch power in 2019 election going by the outcome of this judgement?

  • Ajayi Ifayemi

    I am surprised that the supreme court did not also upbraid themselves, the judiciary. They caused and even instigated most of these problems with all the conflicting judgments they were giving. This confirms that Nigerian justice depends on who is the highest bidder and who is paying who. One could not even vouch for this Supreme court.

    • reposte by popular demand


      Condolence to General Obasanjo

      Where’s General Obasanjo who said PDP party is dead? General Obasanjo can now see that political analysis
      is not given to him or given to any Tom, Dick and Harry. General Obasanjo got zero percent in public policy
      analysis because he’s mentally dishonest. Anyone possessed of average intelligence would understand
      that for PDP to die APC must be growing inversely. General Olusegun Obasanjo does not think much.

      Like an ostrich which buried its head in the sands, he could not see the APC elephant just rotting.
      A party like APC which scorns thinking and thinks development is common sense, is a tragedy.
      As a tragedy the near-illiterate APC party threw Nigeria into the worst recession within a year.
      Obasanjo does not know that as APC fails and implodes, PDP party will naturally be vivified.
      Knowledge eludes General Obasanjo on what he endeavours without relevant schooling.

      • Ajayi Ifayemi

        Which one concern me with Obasanjo?

    • Frank Bassey

      The last sentence made nonsense of what would have been a logical comment.

      • Ajayi Ifayemi

        If you think the first part is logical, I am hard pressed as to why the last statement is not a follow up. Let me say it in simple English, With the kind of nonsense conflicting judgements from different levels of the judiciary, our judiciary can no longer be trusted and that includes the Apex court itself. That is all I am saying and it sounds pretty logical to me.

        • Frank Bassey

          You cannot sound factual without FACTS.

          • Ajayi Ifayemi

            The facts are that we had many conflicting judgments from the judiciary. Si o no?

          • Frank Bassey

            And your corruption allegation against the Judges? That is what I mean.

          • Ajayi Ifayemi

            You are the one talking about corruption, I did not. I only said with all the conflicting judgements coming from the judiciary you really cannot trust any of them including the supreme court.

          • Frank Bassey

            “you really cannot trust any of them including the supreme court”. Please expatiate on this.

          • Ajayi Ifayemi

            It is simple and straight forward. We never know what drives their judgments. If the law of the land drives their judgments, then there is no reason for all the diametrically opposite judgments we have been getting. Sometimes there will be some disagreements, but when all we get is three or four different judges giving different rulings and sometimes going against their own rules of justice administration, with coordinate jurisdictions overruling each other. Believes me It begs for questions and sows seeds of doubts in the whole establishment. Yes, one can argue that the supreme court is above that, but are the justices of the supreme court not chosen from the lower courts?

          • Frank Bassey

            The Law remains the Law until amended. The nation’s Criminal Justice system is being overhauled. It is wrong to insinuate wrongdoing against a Judge without proof. That is the Law, and there is nothing any one can do about it. “You really cannot trust any of them including the supreme court” is not only wrong but unbecoming. That is the point I am making.

  • Bunkaya Gana

    APC, watch your back.


    Several lessons to be learned from this Drama.

    Everything from Lagos, including the Courts, are a menace to our civilization. There must be a band of rogues that have corrupted every single institution there. The destruction of the PDP emanates from there; the sabotage of civil life, Christianity, progress of the south, unity of Nigeria, murder of activists, disrespect of ordinary citizens, the cohesion of the south, the unity of Igbos and Yorubas, the ascendancy of Buhari, the systemic indictment of courageous political juggernauts, are all orchestrated from devils in Lagos.

    One thing the southern PDP must do now, is to remove Makarfi as well. To make sure he is not a mole for Buhari. Obviously, Sheriff is a brother in-law to Buhari, and he was there to create mischief. But, why must every leader in the country’s institutions come from the north? This superiority doesn’t manifest in anything that requires merit. For example, how many goals have northerners scored for the Flying Eagles of Nigeria since the country’s founding? Probably not a single goal in FIFA under 20, or even under 17!

    Take back our institutions from Hausa Fulani until they go to school, and learn how to live with others, abandon Cunningness, and terrorism; until they are specifically patriotic to Nigeria, and Africa itself, and not worship and Kiss Arab ass.

  • Abass Jelili

    It is a shame that this bunch of looters now have a ticket from Supreme court to continue their looting and scrapping of crashed vehicle they drove aimlessly for 16 years. O. K now, let us wait and see. The funniest thing is that PDP are now saying the judiciary is good because they are satisfied with the judgement that favours their needs. I am pretty sure, the Sherrif’s faction will have a different song to sing

    • Frank Bassey

      This is how some of you allow yourself to be brainwashed and become nincompoops and never-do-wells. We are no longer touched by this slang, LOOTERS. it has become a trite, flat, nebulous and tasteless because while the APC shouts Looters, it goes ahead to hide and protect those who are doing the real looting, Where is the report on Babachir Lawal? Is he also a PDP looter? Rubbish.

    • Say the truth

      You must be in serious pain and frustrated that your mole has been sacked by the Supreme Court. Deal with it or better still look for a live transformer and hug it.

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  • Say the truth

    Any day any time I will prefer Makarfi to Sheriff. Based on antecedent Makarfi is a better image maker compare to book haram. Sheriff, Cairo and co travelers have gone into ignominy of history book. It is time to weed out the likes of Buruji and Jimoh Judas Ibrahim from PDP.