An Abuja high court in Abuja has upheld an earlier judgement sacking Ali Modu Sheriff as national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Danladi Ayuba, the plaintiff, sought to know the subsistence of Valentine Ashi’s judgment that sacked Sheriff as PDP national chairman on June 29.
Ashi had held that the process leading to the amendment of Article 47(6) of the party’s constitution did not comply with the provisions in Section 66(2) and (3) of the constitution, which was the basis for Sheriff’s emergence.
While moving a preliminary objection to the plaintiff’s application at the court on Wednesday, Oluyede Ajibade, counsel to Sheriff, said the originating summons were not served on them as required by law.
He challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter, and sought an order from the judge to strike it out.
The counsel claimed that their appearance in court with less than 24 hours to prepare did not afford him fair hearing.
He lamented that they were refused access to the details of the processes in the court file, which would have enabled them to know what was going on and respond adequately.
“The matter was filed 7th August and your lordship wants to deliver judgement within seven days and we don’t know why,” he said.
“The defendant had no notice, we don’t know what are in the court files. The defendant has to be put on notice and given time to respond.
“He doesn’t have locus standi to bring the matter to this court. He is not PDP or Makarfi. Who is he? He seeking an Interpretation of a judgement and he is not a direct beneficiary. He has to establish a liability.
“What is the plaintiff business to know what Valentine Ashi’s judgment means?”
He said it was an internal political matter, which ought not to be brought to court, saying: “We urge your lordship not to accept the invitation to drag the court into a political matter.”
Responding, Uchenna Oparaugo, counsel to the plaintiff, opposed the defendant’s preliminary objection.
“The court has the jurisdiction to sit on the matter. As to the issue of fair hearing as enshrined in section in 36 of the constitution, he was properly put on notice,” he said.
He stated that the plaintiff is a registered member of the PDP.
He said though the issues had to do with members of a political party, his client could seek redress in court because it touches on fundamental issue of rights.
Oparaugo said they were not seeking an extension of Ashi’s ruling in this case before the court, but a redress.
“The plaintiff is at stake because as a member of the PDP he has the right to vie for any position or cadre of the party,” he added.
“The existing judgment that has not been appealed, the continuous conduct of the defendant (Sheriff) is hampering his interest.”
He urged the court to deliver judgement in the favour of the plaintiff.
After listening to the submissions, the judge dismissed the preliminary objection saying it lacked merit.
Sheriff’s counsel asked the judge to disqualify herself from the case, and also asked for an adjournment.
On the other hand, the counsel to the plaintiff opposed the defendant’s application, saying it was an to “arrest of justice.”
However, Nwamaka Ogbonnaya, the judge, validated Ashi’s judgment sacking Sheriff as PDP chairman.
“The judgement, having not been set aside, is still subsisting and their is no evidence that it has been set aside,” she said.
“Hereby is an order restraining the defendant from parading himself, convening any convention or conference on behalf of the party except the judgement is set aside.”