Further hearing on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) case before the Supreme Court was on Thursday adjourned till May 25, 2017.
The Supreme Court five-man panel of Justices fixed the date to hear an appeal filed before it by Senator Ahmed Markafi-led Caretaker Committee, challenging the judgement that afirmed Senate Ali Modu Sheriff as the authentic PDP national chairman.
The apex court panel headed by Justice Musa Dattijo Mohammed approved hearing on the matter after all the parties regularised various processes they filed in respect of the appeal.
In its appeal marked SC.133/2017 and dated February 27, the Makarfi faction challenged the appellate court’s verdict that sanctioned Sheriff as the leader of the party.
Sheriff, his national secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Inspector-General of Police and the State Security Service are all respondents to the appeal.
Counsel to Sheriff faction of the PDP, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, when the case was called-up, informed the court of an application they filed on March 21, challenging the locus-standi of the Markafi-led faction to institute any court action in the name of the PDP.
He said the application is seeking to withdraw and dismiss further hearing on the appeal on the basis that it was filed by persons not legally the authentic leadership of the party, adding that sequel to the subsisting judgment of the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, Markafi and his group lacked the legal-footing to pursue the appeal in the name of the PDP.
He however said that they have the right to merely identify themselves before the apex court as interested parties.
Fagbemi therefore applied for the suit to be struck out in totality.
However, head of the apex court, Justice Dattijo, reminded Fagbemi that the appellate court does not have the final say on the protracted leadership dispute.
He said, “Going by the constitution, the Court of Appeal is not the final and the appeal in the Supreme is a continuation of the process. What you are raising here is a preliminary objection. There were two parties to the Court of Appeal’s decision. Does the other Party not have a right of appeal? Was the decision of the lower court made ex-parte?”
He then held that the Markafi-led faction have a right of appeal at the apex court.
Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, counsel to Makarfi faction on his part prayed the court to hear the appeal on its merit.
While the matter was subsequently adjourned till May 25, the apex court directed Fagbemi to, in seven days, file and serve a written address in support of his motion on all the parties and also asked Olanipekun reply, in five days.