The Oasis Reporters
February 18, 2017
The Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Friday authenticated Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The ruling came as a split decision which saw two of three judges rule in favour of Sheriff while the other judge delivered judgement against Sheriff, a former governor and former Senator from Borno State.
The appellate court set aside the judgement by Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, which recognized former Kaduna governor, Senator Ahmed Makarfi as the leader of the PDP.
Sheriff and Makarfi have been leading separate factions of the main opposition party since the botched national convention of the PDP in the Rivers state capital in May 2016.
Justice Liman had sacked Sheriff as chairman of the PDP, while the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, presided over by Justice Okon Abang declared Ahmed Makarfi’s caretaker committee as illegal.
On account of the conflicting judgments at the lower courts, both parties went to the Court of Appeal to seek redress.
Makarfi challenged Abang’s ruling at the Abuja division of the Appeal Court, but the court could not take a decision because Sheriff had already filed an appeal challenging his removal by the Federal High Court in Rivers.
The next step may seem to be the Supreme Court, but deft moves aimed at reconciliation in a spirit of give and take can save the party. For now, the burden rests squarely on Ali Modu Sheriff, who has shown little enthusiasm for reconciliation, by allegedly saying there’s no room for Governors Fayose and Wike in the party anymore .
This may turn out to be a costly mistake, as Ayodele Fayose, Governor of Ekiti State is the chairman of PDP Governors forum, while Governor Wike of Rivers State is reputed to be very influential, and someone who has very wide reach within and outside the party.
The governors on their own have rejected the court decision and have pledged their loyalty to Ahmed Makarfi, former governor of Kaduna State.
The next few moves would reveal the hand of Ali Modu Sheriff very quickly, either as one who has come to build the opposition party, or to bury it. Whatever direction he chooses will be determined by his temperament or the plank the Supreme Court gives him in the next few weeks.