When all the stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) unanimously appointed Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike as the Chairman of the PDP National Convention of May 21, 2016, they took that decision to re-position the party as a viable opposition that will serve the interest of Nigerians.
The PDP Leaders saw in Governor Wike , a democrat with the right credentials to organise the National Convention. In line with his character, Governor Wike set out with members of his committee to stage one of the best National Conventions ever held.
The sacked Former National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff participated in all the processes that led to the May 21, 2016 National Convention.
Indeed, Sheriff purchased the form to contest the office of the National Chairman. He was in Port Harcourt and he presented himself for screening. He was duly screened at the Rivers State PDP Secretariat. Sheriff made a u-turn few minutes to the National Convention, having read the handwriting on the wall.
SUCCESSFUL NATIONAL CONVENTION THAT PRODUCED THE MAKARFI CARETAKER COMMITTEE
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, 2016 National Convention in Port Harcourt on Saturday approved the setting up of a caretaker committee to run the affairs of the party for three months and also organise the next national convention.
The Caretaker Committee of the PDP has Former Kaduna State Governor, Senator Ahmed Markarfi as Chairman with Senator Ben Obi as Secretary.
The motion for the setting up of the Caretaker Committee was moved by the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswil Akpabio and Seconded by Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwanbo.
The Chairman of the PDP National Convention Planning Committee, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike put the question to delegates of the National
Convention which they unanimously approved.
Earlier, Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Austin Opara moved a motion for the dissolution of the National Working Committee and the removal of national officers of the party. The motion was seconded by Rt Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, former Speaker of the House of Representatives. Governor Wike, Chairman of the National Convention Planning Committee, put the question to the National Convention, which was duly approved.
Also at the 2016 National Convention, the PDP approved the setting aside of the zoning formula previously approved by the National Executive Committee . The National Convention also approved the zoning of the 2019 Presidential Candidate of the PDP to the North.
Addressing the National Convention, the Chairman of the National Convention Planning Committee and Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike said that the new PDP Caretaker Committee will only organise the National Convention within 90 days.
The 2016 Port Harcourt National Convention was observed by a team of INEC officials detailed by the commission’s headquarters.
Governor Wike said that none of the members of the Caretaker Committee will contest at the National Convention that they will organise.
In his acceptance speech after he was sworn in, Chairman of the Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Markarfi thanked the National Convention for giving them the opportunity to serve and reposition the party.
He said: “Non of us is seeking for any party office. We will work towards rebuilding the party “.
The 2016 National Convention of the PDP witnessed great speeches by party leaders.
Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Senator Walid Jubril while endorsing the 2016 National Convention in Port Harcourt, said that the leaders would work towards greater unity within the party.
Former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus while declaring the convention open, regretted that the APC has failed the people of the country through poor governance which has translated to suffering and poverty across the country.
Former Senate President, Senator David Mark noted that as a result of the degeneration of the country, Nigerians will, “change the change ” in 2016.
The National Convention attracted delegates from the 36 states of the Federation. The 12 Governors of the PDP at the time, National and State Assembly members, Former Governors, Board of Trustees members and Former National Working Committee members attended the event.
VALIDATION OF THE NATIONAL CONVENTION BY THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT
A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt declared that the May 21, 2016 National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was duly constituted, stating that the dissolution of the National Working Committee and the National Executive Committee by that convention were valid.
In his judgment on the suit filed by the PDP against Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and others, Justice Abdullahi Liman declared that the appointment of the Caretaker Committee of the PDP to oversee its affairs was legal and in line with the provisions of the PDP constitution.
Justice Liman said that Article 31 (1) of the PDP constitution vested the powers to convene a national convention on the National Executive Committee of the party.
The court held that pursuant to the constitution of the party, the former Acting National Chairman had no powers to unilaterally postpone the properly constituted national convention on a day all delegates had converged on Port Harcourt, the host city.
He described the action of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as most unconscionable , pointing out that the former Acting National Chairman participated in all the processes leading to the National Convention, only to make a u-turn at the final minute after he was screened and disqualified.
The court ruled that after Sheriff was disqualified following his screening, the only option that was left to Senator Sheriff was to have gone to the venue of the National Convention to seek the opinion of delegates whether they were prepared to go on with the convention or not.
According to Justice Liman, the absence of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff from the convention did not visible from the process as his powers were not usurped.
The court declared that under Article 35 (b) of the PDP constitution , in the absence of the Chairman, the Deputy Chairman was empowered to preside over the National Convention.
It therefore ruled that the May 21st, 2016 PDP National Convention was properly constituted and the decisions taken at the convention, valid.
The Federal High Court further ruled that in line with Article 33 (2) of the PDP constitution, the National Convention of the party is supreme and can exercise the powers to dissolve the National Working Committee and the National Executive Committee of the party.
On the issue of the abuse of court process claimed by the Former National Acting Chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, the court held that the plaintiffs in the case in question are not the same in the cases mentioned by the defendants, noting that the plaintiffs suit only centred on the National Convention.
The court noted that five days to the National Convention, the Former Acting National Chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff had through his counsel’s dissociated himself from one of the suits they filed via proxies.
Justice Liman emphasised that there was no suit challenging the conduct of the National Convention in Port Harcourt and that no injunction sought to stop the convention.
COURT OF APPEAL
At the Court of Appeal, Ali Modu Sheriff and his crew were recognized. Thereafter, they acted as spoilers all the way. He ran the party as a department of the APC. Taking several actions that undermined the PDP across the country.
SUPREME COURT VERDICT
In a celebrated judgment on Wednesday, the Supreme Court upheld the 21st May, 2016 PDP National Convention that produced the National Caretaker Committee led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
The Supreme Court panel led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour in the judgement confirmed Senator Ahmed Makarfi as the authentic leader of the PDP. The Court berated Sheriff for moving from one court to another in search of favourable judgment.
SETTING THE STAGE FOR THE REVIVAL OF THE PDP
As a result of the Supreme Court Judgment, the revival of the PDP has started in earnest. Genuine and patriotic stakeholders of the PDP can now work in unison to rebuild the structures of the party.
The moles positioned by the failing ruling party to distract the PDP have been effectively weeded out.
All this while, Sheriff stood alone. He employed a few hands to help him destroy the foundation of the PDP.
The National Convention appointed National Caretaker Committee led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi had on its the platform the PDP Board of Trustees, the PDP Governors Forum, the PDP National Assembly Caucus, PDP State Assemlies Caucus, PDP Elders, Former Ministers Forum and PDP State Chairmen.
The Supreme Court Judgment signals the rebirth of the PDP. The Rule of law has prevailed and the PDP is on the route the rescue Nigeria from poor governance.
The PDP remains the only hope for Nigeria. The ruling party has lost her direction as she has embraced propaganda, instead fulfilling her campaign promises.
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