Justice Ibrahim Buba of a Federal High Court in Lagos Tuesday nullified the national caretaker committee constituted by the Peoples Democratic Party during last Saturday’s convention.
In his ruling, Mr. Buba said the committee was constituted in violation of an order he had made on May 12, when he barred the PDP from holding elections into offices of the national chairman, national secretary, and national auditor pending the determination of a suit before him.
The judge had also restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission from monitoring any election conducted by the party.
“No court can make an order in vain,” Mr. Buba said on Tuesday.
“The decisions of the Federal High Court, a High Court and of all other courts established by this Constitution shall be enforced in any part of the federation by all authorities and persons, and by other courts of law with subordinate jurisdiction to that of the Federal High Court, a High Court and those other courts, respectively.
“Therefore, the Inspector-General of Police is directed to enforce the orders of this court until the order is set aside or all the applications before the court are disposed of.
“Because of the nature of this matter being political, time is hereby abridged for the hearing of all applications.”
The PDP had held a national convention last weekend where the party appointed Ahmed Makarfi, a former governor of Kaduna State, as acting national chairman, while Ben Obi, a former senator, was appointed acting national secretary.
The judge ordered Ali Modu Sheriff, the erstwhile chairman of the party, to continue serving as the chairman and warned the Makarfi-led committee “not to act in that capacity in defiance of this order”.
Mr. Buba’s decision was preceded by a drama between two senior lawyers who announced appearance for the PDP.
Ahmed Raji and Godswill Morakpor engaged in a heated debate before the judge over who would conduct Tuesday’s proceedings.
“There was no attempt to change counsel,” said Mr. Raji, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
“I am the counsel on record for the second defendant (PDP). The new caretaker committee has revalidated my appointment. This is the letter,” he said, while handing the letter to Justice Buba.
Mr. Morakpor, however, disagreed with Mr. Raji’s claims.
“Today is like a nightmare to me,” he said.
“I never envisaged a situation where I would be dragging a client with a senior member of the Bar. We have filed a notice of change of counsel and served on the learned SAN.”
Mr. Raji told the judge he never received an application for change of counsel from PDP, prompting the judge to send for the court’s bailiff.
The bailiff confirmed he indeed served Mr. Raji with the application at his office.
In his ruling, the judge held that Mr. Morakpor was the recognised counsel for the PDP.
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