Controversies have trailed the scheduled Peoples Democratic Party convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State as the factional leaders namely the former Governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff and Chairman of the party's Board of Trustees, Senator Ahmed Makarfi have secured conflicting court orders against and for the political gathering.
According to Punch, the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission on Tuesday was confused on whether to monitor or stay away from Wednesday’s (today) national convention which still remains under probability as the entrance of venue has been sealed by security operatives.
Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday had insisted that the PDP must stop its planned national convention.
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The judge gave a stern warning to the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahood Yakubu, not to monitor the convention. The judge also ordered the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to enforce the court’s order. Justice Abang has been alleged to be a close ally of Sheriff by opposition groups who accused him giving 'black market court injunctions'.
Justice Abang’s order is contrary to another order by Justice Ibrahim Watila of the Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court, directing the IGP to monitor the convention.
Warning that the disobedience of court orders could cause anarchy, Justice Watila pointed out that the National Caretaker Committee of the PDP remained the executive authority in all matters concerning the party.
A correspondent, who visited the headquarters of the commission in Abuja on Tuesday, was told by some national commissioners that INEC was in a dilemma over which order of the different courts it should obey concerning the convention.
One of the national commissioners, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said while the commission was willing to obey court orders, the two judgments had put it in a state of confusion.
He said, “ We have just been told that we should not be at the convention on the order of Justice Abang. Yet, another court in Port Harcourt said we must be there. These are same courts with same powers under the same President, because the Federal High Court in the country is headed by a President.
“Are these judges reading different laws or constitution? Can’t the President of the Federal High Court call his men to order?
“If we go to Port Harcourt for the convention, a judge will say we flouted his order and if we don’t go, another one will frown at our action.”