Office Of The National Caretaker Committee Of The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Re: Order Of Hon. Justice I. N. Buba Of The Federal High Court, Lagos: A Rebuttal
The attention of the Office of the National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party has been drawn to misinformation going round in the print, electronic and internet media to the effect that Hon. I. N. Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos made an order dissolving the Caretaker Committee under the leadership of His Excellency, Senator Armed Markarfi. This is not true.
It is reckless misrepresentation of facts, and distortion of information by certain aggrieved members of our Party, to mislead the members of the public. To put the facts straight, and in rebuttal of the unfortunate misinformation of the general public, we wish to make the following clarifications:
1) Justice I. N. Buba did not make an order dissolving the Caretaker Committee. An order of Court could only be made if the court is presented with either a Motion Ex-Parte or Motion on Notice which the Court hears and makes appropriate order(s) as deemed necessary. No court makes an order not sought.
2) The Plaintiffs in SUIT NO. FHC/L/CS/613/2016 had on Monday May 23, 2016 filed a Motion on Notice for the purpose of setting aside the National Convention of the Party held on Saturday May 21, 2016. The Motion on Notice is yet to be served on the Defendant (the PDP being the 2nd Defendant in the suit) as at today Wednesday 25 May, 2016.
3) The suit comes up Friday May 27, 2016 for the hearing of all pending applications, including Motions for Stay of Proceeding/Execution of the Order of May 12, 2016 pending the Appeal already filed against the suit; Motion to Set-Aside and/or Vacate the order of May 12, 2016; Motion for joinder of certain persons; Motion on Notice by way of Notice of Preliminary Objection on ground of jurisdiction, among others.
4) At the proceedings of Tuesday May 24, 2016 Counsel to the Plaintiff, R. A. Oluyede drew the attention of the court to the fact that the order of Court dated May 12, 2016 had not been complained with. And that the 2nd Defendant has gone ahead to conduct election into the offices of: i. National Chairman ii. National Secretary iii. National Auditor
5) As a matter of fact, the PDP is aware of the Order of Hon. Justice Buba of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos dated 12th May, 2016 given in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/613/2016, to the effect that the PDP should not conduct election in the offices of :- i) National Chairman ii) National Secretary iii) National Auditor
6) In strict compliance and obedience to the above order, the National Convention of the PDP did not conduct election into the above offices or any offices at all.
7) The National Convention of the PDP, in the exercise of its powers under section 12.88 of the PDP Constitution, dissolved the National Working Committee and appointed some of its members as Caretakers Committee for the next ninety (90) days, to enable it pursue true reconciliation of its disputant members towards peaceful, amicable and political settlement of the disputes leading to the cases in court.
8) No orders of injunction or any order whatsoever is granted or exists against appointing Caretaker Committee for the PDP.
9) The PDP is aware of the ruling of the Federal High Court sitting in Port-Harcourt (as advertised) in Suit No. FHC/PH/CS/524/2016, which orders are extensive, far-reaching and self-explanatory. 10) We have widely published the Orders of the Federal High Court sitting in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria per A. M. Liman dated 23rd May, 2016, which order is earlier in time to the bench ruling of Hon. Justice I. N. Buba.
The orders were published on Wednesday 25, May 2016 in the following national newspapers: i. Daily Sun pages 38-39 ii. Punch pages 26-27 iii. Thisday Newspaper pages 60-61 iv. The Nation pages 10-11. 11) The bench ruling of Justice I. N. Buba as well as records of proceedings will be widely published in due course. We have applied for it through our Counsel.
12) Certain members of the PDP who were affected by the resolution of the National Convention, being the Supreme Organ of the PDP, have resorted to desperation and manipulation of judicial proceedings.
13) At the proceedings of May 24, 2016 Mr. Oluyede informed the court that the order of 12 May, 2016 is being violated.
Typical of a court of justice to preserve the integrity of the Judiciary and the sanctity of the order of Court, Justice Buba directed the Inspector General of Police to ensure compliance with the court Order of May 12, 2016.
14) As a Party, we shall fully cooperate with the IGP and the Nigeria Police in ensuring maximum compliance with the Court order dated May 12, 2016 to the effect that no election should be conducted into the above offices, namely National Chairman, National Secretary, and National Auditor pending the resolution of the cases in Court.
15) As a matter of fact, it is for this reason that the Supreme Organ of the Party, the National Convention resolved not to conduct election into all the offices of the Party.
16) As at today, the only order that is direct, specific and subsisting on the National Convention is that of A. M Liman of the Federal High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt. The ruling of Justice Buba neither touched neither concerned the National Convention of the Party.
We acknowledge that a Motion on Notice to this effect is pending before Buba J. But until that motion is moved and/or granted or struck-out there is no adverse judicial pronouncement on the proceedings at the National Convention of the PDP held on Saturday May 21. 2016.
17) Moreover, a Court of coordinate jurisdiction (another Federal High Court) sitting in Port Harcourt, has given orders deemed appropriate (in the well considered views/opinion of the Court) in respect of specific issues bordering on the outcome of the National Convention held on Saturday May 21, 2016.
The said order of Liman J. subsists and specific on the issue as against that of Buba J. which only granted an injunction against conducting elections into certain offices as listed above, and the Party never conducted election into those offices as directed by the Court.
Conclusion: No member of the PDP is bigger than the Party. No office, person, organ, or institution within the PDP is bigger than the National Convention, which is the Supreme organ of the Party with powers, to even dissolve the Party itself. Party politics thrives on party discipline. It is for this reason that we most passionately appeal to all aggrieved members and leaders of the Party to consider the ultimate interest of the Party.
They should know and realise that whatever aspiration they have will only materialise with a united, stronger, just and well-positioned PDP. Nothing should be done by any members, no matter his or her status in the society, to undermine the integrity of the process and the Party. PDP is well a well structured, all-inclusive, bottom-up political party. It has inherent powers to sanction erring party members in accordance with its constitution.
It is in view of the foregoing that we appeal to all to remain law abiding. Steps are already being taking reconcile every aggrieved members, and to resolve all grievances with the ninety (90) days duration of the Caretaker Committee for the purpose of putting an end to needless litigation over issues that are purely internal affairs of our party.
We should save the Nigerian Judiciary the unnecessary burdens of politically- motivated, ridiculously conflicting decisions and rulings. Unless the trends are curtailed, contradictory rulings are capable of throwing our judiciary “off-balance”. This might also impact negatively on the entire country, including both the ruling party and PDP as opposition Party. Please let peace reign!!! Thank you. Yours sincerely, Sen. Ahmed Markafi National Caretaker Chairman, PDP