Leadership Crisis: Why Sheriff Remains PDP National Chairman – Legal Opinion By Titi Banjoko
The National Convention of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) was slated to take place in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Saturday, the 21st day of May, 2016. At the convention, elections of officers into the national offices were to take place except the offices of National Chairman, National Secretary and National Auditor held by Senator Alli Modu Sheriff, Professor Wale Oladipo and Alhaji Fatai Adeyanju respectively pursuant to an order of interlocutory injunction granted by a Federal High Court holding in Lagos presided over by His Lordship, Honourable Justice Ibrahim Buba.
The said Orders of injunction restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from monitoring/supervising and Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) from conducting elections or purport to conduct elections into the offices afore-mentioned. The said order was published in most of the widely spread national newspapers such as The Punch Newspaper etc to constitute a valid notice not only to the Respondents i.e INEC and PDP but also to the world at large. It is therefore not in dispute that the Respondents were duly aware of the subsistence of the valid orders or injunction against them.
By the said order of interlocutory injunction which has not been over-turned on appeal by the Court of Appeal, the subsisting orders MUST be obeyed to the letters and without any reservations.
The Respondents had flagrantly disobeyed and disrespected the said orders of the court by purporting to appoint and/or constitute a National Caretaker Committee headed by Senator Ahmed Makarfi as Chairman which acts they had been refrained from doing by the said order(s) of the Court.
It is my humble view that all or any steps or acts taken or purported to be taken by the Respondents, their privies, agents or representatives in appointing a National Caretaker Committee with Senator Ahmed Makarfi as Chairman an act contrary to the subsisting order of the court are null and void and of no effect whatsoever. One cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand.
The purported appointment or constitution of a National Caretaker Committee in the face of the subsisting order(s) of the court was a contempt of court for which the Respondents are liable to punishments. The contemnors and their identified allies or agents should be made to face the rot of the law to purge themselves of their contempt.
It is indeed unnecessary to file in court an application to set aside the unlawful and illegal acts of the Respondents by putting in place a National Caretaker Committee since such acts are deemed to be non-existent in law.
Barr. Titi Banjoko. Esq is a legal practitioner and the Senior Legislative Aide to Hon. Adekoya Adesegun Abdel-Majid, MHR.