One-time Senator representing Benue North East, Senator Joseph Akaagerger, has hailed the recent judgement of the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, declaring the national convention that produced the Ahmed Makarfi-led Care-taker Committee illegal and affirming Ali Modu Sheriff as the authentic national chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Akaagerger, a PDP chieftain who has been a member of Sheriff’s faction from Benue State, in an interview, described the judgement as a victory for democracy, which in his words, has brought an end to impunity in the PDP and defined the popular will of members of the party.
He said: “It is the beginning and end to impunity. It is the beginning and end of lack of internal democracy where some people want to hijack the PDP for their personal interests as against the overall interest of the entire members of the party for the good of the party. Now that the party is going back to the people, it will be indeed Peoples Democratic Party – power to the people.”
Advising Sheriff to immediately commence the process of reconciliation to rebuild and reposition the PDP for greater performance as the leading opposition party in the country, the former military administrator of Katsina State added: “He (Sheriff) should reconcile all the members and groups in the party. As it has been said, there is no victor and no vanquished. It is a victory for democracy and it is a victory for every faction. It is a victory that defines the popular will of the people in the party and determines the end of impunity and imposition of candidates. Consequently, he should see his affirmation as the chairman of PDP as an opportunity to rebuild the party on a strong platform of transparency and honesty and not run the party as a personal enterprise which has been what has suffocated the party and made it comatose.”
The former lawmaker said the refusal of the Makarfi faction to accept the ruling of the appellate court and its decision to proceed to the Supreme Court to appeal was nothing to worry about, saying “That is the beauty of democracy and it is their constitutional right to appeal, even up to the West African Court of Appeal, I mean, the ECOWAS Court if they like. The constitution of the party is very clear. It is only the national convention that can produce a leadership. That is what our party’s constitution says. And that is exactly what the Appeal Court based its judgement on – the provisions of the party’s constitution.”
Sheriff had appealed the earlier judgment of July 4, 2016 by Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, which upheld the outcome of the May 21, 2016 Port Harcourt convention from where Makarfi emerged as Caretaker Committee Chairman.
In a split judgment (of two to one from a panel of three judges), the Court of Appeal pronounced as illegal, null and void the formation of the Caretaker Committee by the Port Harcourt convention of the PDP.