National chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) Ali Modu Sheriff, has applied to the Supreme Court for the withdrawal of an appeal filed in the name of the party by the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction.
By this move, Sheriff has began the process of halting Makarfi’s appeal of the judgement of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division, which recognized Sheriff as the national chairman of the party.
Makarfi-led National caretaker committee had filed an appeal with number SC.133/2017, on February 27, 2017, challenging the February 17, 2017 judgment of the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal which affirmed Sheriff’s chairmanship.
But in their motion for discontinuance of the appeal before the Supreme Court, filed before the Supreme Court on March 16, 2017, Sheriff and his National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo, argued, that there is no ground of law that supports the appeal because Makarfi’s are incompetent to institute any legal process in the name of the party.
According to the motion filed through their lead counsel, Chief Akinlolu Olujinmi (SAN), the motion stated that by virtue of the Court of Appeal’s judgment, Makarfi, Obi and Adeyeye could not continue to act in any capacity as the representative of the party.
The court paper read in part, “More importantly, however, the persons who have instigated the filing of the appeal and instructed lawyers to act for the appellant (namely Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Senator Ben Obi, and Mr. Dayo Adeyeye, who continue to style and parade themselves as the ‘National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party’) do not have the authority or power to do so.
“Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Senator Ben Obi and Mr. Adeyeye, who seek to hide behind corporate veil of the PDP are, in fact, doing so in furtherance of disregard of the judgment of the lower court which clearly amounts to exposing the administration of justice to disrepute and public odium as evidenced by their utterances against the justices of the lower court after the delivery of the judgment of the lower court.
“The corporate personality of the appellant can only be invoked by its legal alter ego, vide the National Working Committee/National Executive Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, consisting of the first and second respondents (Sheriff and Oladipo) and other officers represented by them, not Senators Ahmed Makarfi, Senator Ben Obi, and Mr. Adeyeye who are not officers of the appellant (the PDP) at all, as confirmed by the judgment of the lower court .”
Similarly Oladipo who deposed to an affidavit filed in support of the motion, stated that PDP under the leadership of Sheriff had written to Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), to stop acting as counsel for the PDP. He added that Mr. Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) and Dr. Alex Iziyon (SAN) had been appointed to take over from Olanipekun.
The affidavit stated in part, “The appropriate alter ego of the appellant and its moving minds (as authorised by the Constitution of the party and confirmed by the judgment and express order of the lower court, which required that parties revert to status quo as at the May 27, 2016, have now directed that a notice of discontinuance of this appeal be filed and instructed Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) and Dr. Alex Iziyon (SAN) to act as counsel for the appellant (PDP) to effect the will of the appellant as expressed in the said notice of discontinuance.