PDP Crisis: CJ Auta Stops Further Court Orders To Parties

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  • As INEC Rejects Makarfi’s Nominee For Edo Elections
  • Sheriff Seeks To Compel INEC Via Contempt Charges
  • Warns PDP Govs On Consequences Of Insisting On His Ouster

Apparently embarrassed by conflicting court orders emanating from Federal High Courts, which are of coordinate jurisdiction, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court Justice
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Ibrahim Auta has ordered immediate stoppage of granting further orders by judges nationwide on the PDP leadership crisis the chief judge via a circular to all federal High Court Judges expressed fears of the possible embarrassment such orders may cause the judiciary, hence the need to review all existing orders with a view to consolidating the issues and harmonizing judicial views. He directed all judges under his purview to comply until further directives on the matter, even as the courts adjourn for the annual judicial vacation, where in only vacation judges will be on stand by for any possible urgent matters that may arise within the course of the vacation. This is even as nominations for the Governorship race in the September elections in Edi state come to a close, with strong indications that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, may not have a candidate following the refusal by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to accept the nominees from the two factions of the party. nationalTRAIL gathered that throughout last week, the Ahmed Makarfi led caretaker Committee made futile attempts to convince the electoral umpire to accept their nominee, Pastor Ize Iyamu; no thanks to the plethora of conflicting court pronouncements on the leadership crisis. Checks at the INEC headquarters in Abuja reveal that, lawyers to the Caretaker Committee had gone to submit the name of Pastor Ize Iyamu as its candidate for the Edo race, only to be reminded of an enrollment order of an Abuja High Court, presided over by Justice Okon Abang, to the effect that INEC should not accept nominations for the said race from any other person but from the Ali Modu Sheriff leadership. The judge had while directing INEC to accept Sheriff’s nominees for the Edo and Ondo Governorship races, remarked that the emergence of the Caretaker committee, led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi was both strange and suspicious, and a negation of an earlier court order from Lagos to the effect that Sheriff remains the National Chairman of the PDP until otherwise pronounced by a court of higher jurisdiction. Some leaders of the party who have been pushing for the Caretaker Committee, including three amongst the PDP Governors tried in vain to cajole INEC into accepting Makarfi’s nominee, but had to give up when INEC stuck to its guns.
Our correspondent reports that, Makarfi’s foot soldiers had approached a former vice President for possible intervention with INEC, but attempts by the elder statesman did not yield results either, prompting to a press briefing later by the group, accusing INEC of bias. In the meantime, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff’s lawyers had gone to the Federal High to obtain form 48, as a prelude to enforcing the court order directing INEC to deal with Sheriff, even as they begin contempt proceedings against INEC for failing to accepts their own nominee for the same race. A source at INEC told our correspondent that PDP may loose out of the Edo race until a definite pronouncement is made by the Appeal Court in any of the numerous court rulings on the leadership tussle in the PDP. In another development, national deputy Chairman of the party, Dr Cairo Ojugbo has warned PDP Governors to stop playing with the fortunes of the party for their selfish gains, saying they may be the ultimate losers in the political debacle.
Dr Cairo told nationalTRAIL in an exclusive interview that, anything short of the recognition and acceptance of Senator sheriff as the authentic National Chairman of the PDP by the Governors and other stakeholders, could only prolong the woes of the party, and may cost her the Edo and Ondo elections. According to him, a political solution may be the best way out of the logjam, which starts with the party’s resort to the status quo ante, with sheriff as its national chairman, which will pave way for a convention at which a new set of leaders could emerge. He describes as a disservice to the PDP attempts by the governors to muzzle sheriff out an install a surrogate in form of caretaker Committee, just to facilitate the hijack of the PDP by the few; Cairo argued that, the bone of contention between Sheriff and the Governors was the formers desire to ensure internal democracy by returning the party to the grassroots owners, which the Governors are not amenable to, as they insist on having their stooges as leaders at all levels.