PDP leadership battle: Supreme Court refers Sheriff, Makarfi back to Appeal Court

The Supreme Court has referred the two factional leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – Ali Modu Sheriff and Ahmed Makarfi – back to the Court of Appeal for the decision on who has the right to lead the party.

The court also ordered a former factional candidate of the party in Ondo State, Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim, to file a fresh appeal in furtherance of his objection to the decision of the Court of Appeal in favour of Eyitayo Jegede, now the governorship candidate of the PDP.

The Supreme Court, in a unanimous ruling of a five-man panel, led by Justice Walter Onnoghen, the acting CJN, struck out an interlocutory appeal by leaders of the Southwest state executive councils installed by the Sheriff factional leadership.

The court directed the appellants, led by a factional chairman of the PDP in Ondo State, Mr. Biyi Poroye, to return to the Court of Appeal for a final judgment on the substantive appeal, relating to the question about which of the factional leaderships could instruct lawyers to act for the PDP.

The substantive appeal was filed by the Makarfi factional leadership against the ruling by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, recognising the right of the Sheriff-led faction to make decisions for the party, including briefing lawyers on its behalf.

Supreme Court said the appellants or any other party that is not satisfied with the Court of Appeal’s final judgment on the issue could appeal the judgment and include their challenge of the interlocutory decisions.

In view of the Court of Appeal’s November 23 judgment, which voided Ibrahim’s candidature – the interlocutory appeals were now mere academic exercise.