PDP Crisis Deepens as Federal High Court Stops Convention
LAGOS AUGUST 16TH (URHOBOTODAY)) – Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja has stopped the National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) being organized by the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the party. The faction had scheduled the convention for August 17, 2016, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Justice Abang in a ruling on Monday approved the interim order sought by the factional chairman of the party, Ali Modu Sheriff, ordering that the order would subsist till the motion filed by the Sheriff seeking an interlocutory injunction against the convention is heard and determined.
The judge thereafter fixed Tuesday for the hearing of the motion.
Justice Abang said he was irked by an application by Senator Ben Obi to be joined in the suit as a respondent as he had gotten an order from Justice Ibrahim Watila of the Port Harcourt division of the Federal High Court for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agents to be present at the convention.
Ruling in the suit filed by Obi for himself and other members of the National Convention Planning Committee of the party on Monday, Justice Watila also granted that the Inspector General of Police , Commissioner of Police, Rivers state, Director of State Service should provide security for the convention.
However, in his ruling Monday, Abang said the court would have adjourned the matter to the next day to give Obi’s counsel time to prepare for an intending application from Sheriff’s group but declared that going by Obi’s actions, which he described as a “slap on the court”, he said he had no choice but to adjourn the matter to August 16 at 12pm.
“Obi cannot undermine the authority of this court. Senator Ben Obi cannot treat the court with disdain and levity,” Abang said.
“?Where a party has taken law into its hands, and to maintain the dignity and integrity of the court and in the overall interest of justice, taking into consideration the competing claims of the parties, an order is hereby made in the interim suspending the PDP convention slated for August 17, 2016, pending when the plaintiff motion on notice dated July 20 is served.”