The Supreme Court has dismissed an application filed by a factional leader of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ali-Modu Sheriff, asking the court not to hear a motion by his challenger, Ahmed Makarfi. Mr. Sheriff had asked the court to refuse hearing on the application filed by Mr. Makarfi, challenging the February 17 judgement of the Appeal Court in Port Harcourt which made Mr. Sheriff leader of the PDP. At the opening of the hearing on Monday, Mr. Sheriff’s lawyer, Akin Olujimi, said the application was an abuse of court process because Mr. Makarfi ought to have requested the leave of court before making the application. Mr. Olujimi prayed the court to dismiss the application.
Responding, Mr. Makarfi’s lawyer, Wole Olanikpekun, prayed the court to disregard the argument of Mr. Olujimi, describing them as baseless. In a short ruling on the application, a five-member panel led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, said the application by Mr. Makarfi was considered valid since it complied with the rules of the Supreme Court.Mr. Onnoghen said according to the Supreme Court rules, an application challenging a decision of a lower court ought to have come within three months after the ruling of the lower court. He said the apex court had taken note of the fact that the case was decided at the lower court in February, while the motion at the Supreme Court was filed less than three months after the ruling by the lower court. He therefore gave a unanimous ruling in favour of the Makarfi faction, and awarded an unstated cost against the faction led by Mr. Sheriff.