A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has granted the reliefs sought by members of the National Convention Committee of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) to hold its convention in Port Harcourt on August 17.
The court on Monday restrained the Inspector General of Police, Commissioner of Police in Rivers State, Director of the Department of State Security Service, (DSS), the Director DSS Rivers State and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from interfering in the conduct of the party’s convention.
The presiding judge, Justice Ibrahim Watila, in the interlocutory injunction also directed the security agencies mentioned in the suit to provide adequate security for the event and also asked INEC to be present.
Meanwhile, the Governor of Rivers State, who is also the Chairman of the Convention Planning Committee, Nyesome Wike, told reporters that with the decision of the court, the party was set for the convention.
He described the request by factional Chairman of the party, Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff, for him to step down as baseless.
The factional Chairman of the party, Senator Sheriff had approached the Federal High Court, Abuja for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the party from conducting the national convention.
He also wanted an order that would restrain the PDP from presenting anybody or sponsoring any person for election into its offices pending determination of the suit.
He asked for an ancillary order directing the Nigerian Police to enforce the orders of the court until all applications are disposed of.
While this was going on, the Ahmed Makarfi-led PDP approached an FCT High Court challenging the power of Justice Okon Abang to hear the suit filed by Senator Sheriff.
They specifically asked the court to restrain Justice Abang on the grounds that there is a circular from the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court restraining all judges handling PDP leadership tussle cases to stop further action pending the outcome of the appeals before the appellate court.
But the prayers were not granted by Justice Olukayode Adeniyi, who held that the application lacks merit, as the applicant who is listed as PDP is not a natural person as such not entitled to any fundamental human rights.
The leadership crisis of the PDP that has seen several court injunctions began in May after some members of the party removed Senator Sheriff as the leader of the party and set up a caretaker committee to handle the party’s affairs, pending the election of party executive members in a national convention.