Nigeria’s apex court has declared former Kaduna State Governor, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, as the authentic chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In a verdict this morning by a five-man panel of Justices headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, the Supreme Court ruled that Mr Makarfi is to be henceforth addressed as the chairman of the party.
The judgement was a heavy blow to Makarfi’s riva, Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff, who had won at the lower courts. At the opening of the hearing on Monday, Mr. Sheriff’s lawyer, Akin Olujimi, said the application was an abuse of court process because Mr. Makarfi ought to have requested the leave of court before making the application.
Sheriff had argued that the Makarfi’s faction was not recognised by the party and that he (Sheriff) as the legitimate chairman did not authorise anyone to file an appeal on behalf of the party. Mr. Olujimi prayed the court to dismiss the application. Responding, Mr. Makarfi’s lawyer, Wale Olanikpekun, prayed the court to disregard the argument of Mr. Olujimi, describing them as baseless.
But the Supreme Court in its ruling held that according to the laws of the apex court, appeals must be filed within three months after the appeal court ruling and the application in question was so filed and as such is deemed filed.
He therefore gave a unanimous ruling in favour of the Makarfi faction, and awarded an unstated fine against the faction led by Mr. Sheriff.