The Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt on Friday, affirmed former Borno State Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, as the substantive National Chairman of the Poeples Democratic Party (PDP).
By upholding an earlier ruling by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court Abuja, the appellate court has sacked the Caretaker committee of Sen. Ahmed Makarfi in place of the Modu Sheriff-led faction.
In a unanimous decision, three judges of the court agreed that controversial factional leader Modu Sheriff is the authentic chairman of the party, PM News writes.
This presents yet another twist in the long-running battle between Senators Makarfi and Modu Sheriff for the soul of the former ruling party.
Chieftains of the party from both sides had expressed readiness to abide by the outcome of the appeal court verdict with a view to resolving the raging battle.
Until now, they’d both enjoyed alternate spells of success in courts in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt in their bid to unite the party.
A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt had last year given legitimacy to Makarfi as the chairman of the party, while Justice Abang, had ruled that Sheriff should be recognised as the chairman.
On December 16, 2016, an Appeal court in Abuja adjourned indefinitely the separate hearing in the leadership tussle so as to pave way for the Port Harcourt division of the court to exhaust the case before it.
The internal crisis had greatly affected the capacity of the PDP to effectively play the role of leading opposition to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Both Makarfi and Sheriff have been operating from satellite offices following the closure of the national headquarters of the party, at Wadata Plaza in Abuja.
Speaking on his affirmation, Ali Modu Sheriff said:
“I will engineer a restructuring of the PDP such that characters like Wike and Fayose cannot find a way through to attain any position of prominence in our party in the future. They have brought shame and agony through the application of their crude and godless politics which is at variance with the principles upon which our founding fathers built our great party. We must find a way to sieve things so that only men of character and integrity can come through for positions of responsibility at all levels of our political engagement in the country. We must urgently steer the ship of PDP clear of the path of infamy which Wike and Fayose has brought our party, making Nigerians to mistaken PDP as a training ground for thugs. That is the urgent task we have. We cannot continue to advertise thug brand and expect Nigerians to take us seriously”.