The Governor of Imo State and chairman Progressives Governors Forum, Rochas Okorocha, has warned a former Governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Makarfi, and his faction to respect a judgment of a court of Appeal, Port Harcourt, Rivers state, which affirmed that Alimodu Sheriff, was the true National chairman of the crisis-ridden People’s Democratic Party.
The Governor said that, while the Makarfi led faction of the PDP reserved the Constitutional right to appeal the court of Appeal judgement in Supreme Court, himself and other faithful who are opposed to the leadership of Sheriff should not heat up the polity or do anything that would undermine the county’s nascent democracy.
In a statement issued in Owerri, the state capital on Tuesday by the Governor’s political Adviser, Professor Nnamdi Obiaraeri, Okorocha, noted with dismay a communique issued after a meeting in Abuja on Monday by the Makarfi led faction of the main opposition party.
The governor, who averred that democrats in a democracy should have democratic mindsets, admonished Makarfi and his group not be anarchists by going against a valid judgement which empowered Sheriff as the indisputable National chairman of the PDP.
The statement which was titled “SENATOR MAKARFI AND HIS CO-TRAVELLERS CAN PROCEED ON APPEAL TO THE SUPREME COURT BUT MUST NOT DENIGRATE THE JUDICIARY AND OR HEAT UP THE POLITY UNNECESSARILY” asserted that any unlawful act undertaken by the Makarfi faction was an affront to the country’s democracy.
Parts of the statement reads, “Our attention has been drawn to the recent Communique allegedly issued after a meeting in Abuja by Senator Makarfi and his co-travellers following his loss of the National Chairmanship and control of PDP to Senator Sheriff in the recent judgement of the Court of Appeal.
“We concede the constitutional right of any person dissatisfied with the judgement of the Court of Appeal to approach the Supreme Court for a final adjudication and determination of the matter or matters in contention but we view with grave concern the apparent disregard for a valid and subsisting judgement of the Court of Appeal by Senator Makarfi and his clique in the PDP national leadership impasse.”
“This open disregard for a valid and subsisting judgement of the Court of Appeal is a grave affront to the judiciary as an arm of government and must be condemned by all and sundry as a further threat to our fledgeling democracy”.
“Going through the gamut of the said communique, we are piqued by the shameful lack of decorum exhibited by its authors and the derisive language employed by the Senator Markafi led group in lambasting the majority judgement of the Court of Appeal sought to be appealed against”.
“To say the least, the language of the communique as it affects Their Lordships of the Court of Appeal who delivered the majority judgement is very irresponsible and typical of the outcome of a gathering of lawless political marabouts and desperate gamblers”.
“Concerned stakeholders in the legal profession, decent observers and men and women of enlightened conscience are surprised that Senator Makarfi and his rebellious group will delude themselves into believing that a valid and subsisting majority judgement of the penultimate court of the land can be nibbled at to the point of being brazenly disobeyed because of a dissenting minority judgement. This is completely unacceptable”.
“The judgement of the Court of Appeal is that Senator Sheriff is the PDP helmsman and this must be respected and obeyed until upset on a final appeal by the Supreme Court. Anybody or group of persons doing anything to the contrary is lawless and liable to be punished for contempt”.
“The Honourable Learned Justices of the Court of Appeal that delivered the judgement complained about by Senator Markafi must neither be intimidated nor brazenly insulted. Our judiciary and judicial officers must be respected and protected”.
“Rule of law is not mob rule…it is rule according to law. Hence, we reiterate that the comments in that communique concerning the judgement, the persons and integrity of the revered Justices of the Court of Appeal that delivered the majority judgement, are most unfortunate and with the greatest respect, can only emanate from a gathering of a riotous mob.
“While we welcome the idea of a final appeal to the Supreme Court so that all the issues in dispute will be resolved and binding precedence on political party administration will crystalize, we advise the dissatisfied Senator Makarfi group in PDP not to heat up the polity unnecessarily”.
“Decency and civilised behaviour will demand that while quietly licking the wound of their loss at the Court of Appeal to Senator Sheriff and or pursuing their appeal to the Supreme Court, Senator Makarfi and his cohorts must remain law abiding and avoid conducts likely to breach the peace.
“In the interim, we feel obliged to remind all concerned that the Supreme Court has restated in a long line of decided cases that an appeal does not simpliciter or automatically serve as a stay of execution.
“It is also good law, and a settled one too, that you can not deny a judgment creditor the fruits of his litigation! This is the delicate balance that must be maintained until the Supreme Court enters final judgement on the matter one way or the other.
“We opine that democrats must have democratic mindset and be rule of law compliant. Any politician in a democracy without a democratic mindset or unwilling to abide by judicial outcomes is an anarchist.”