While Sheriff and his men were in Benin, an Abuja High Court ordered him and other officers of the party to refrain from parading themselves in those capacities.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been engulfed in leadership tussle since Adam Muazu stepped down as the party's national chairman. His decision came shortly after Goodluck Jonathan failed to return to win the presidential election in 2015. Uche Secondus took over although in acting capacity.
Ahmed Gulak, the former political adviser to the former president on political matters file a suit seeking Secondus removal on grounds that he was the rightful person to take over from Muazu according to party's constitution. Before this time, the party had zoned the chairmanship position to the Northeast region.
His request was honoured an the court asked Secondus to vacate the office within 14 days. Gulak stormed the party's national secretariat with his supporters on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 and declared himself as the new chairman of the party. However, his move was widely condemned by chieftains of the party.
In the midst of these issues, National Executive Council (NEC) the of the party (lead by Governor Ayodele Fayose) approached Ali Modu Sheriff who had just dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for PDP to complete Muazu's tenure. Sheriff was quoted to have said that "God used Fayose " to make me PDP chairman.
The National Working Committee (NWC) which opposed Sheriff's emergence moved to form a Caretaker Committee with Ahmed Makarfi as its leader. Another group known as the Concerned Stakeholders forum led by Former Information Minister, Jerry Gana emerged.
Fresh crisis erupted within the opposition party after the former minister led the group of other leading members to announce the takeover of the party from Sheriff. The group also declared the Caretaker Committee as "unconstitutional."
“The purported extension of the tenure of the Chairman and other members of the national working committee by the Party by the NEC was an illegality and therefore untenable and contrary to the provisions of our party Constitution which gives such powers only to the National Convention of the Party.
"All actions purportedly taken by the said NEC and the National Working Committee, including the Ward, Local Government, State Congresses and the planned National Convention of the Party slated for the 21st of May 2016 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State constitute a nullity and are of no effect,” the group said.
The Gana faction held its parallel national convention in Abuja, simultaneously with the Makarfi group which took their convention to Port Harcourt, Rivers state.
Sheriff cancelled the convention but the delegates defied the cancellation order, instead appointed a caretaker committee to oversee the affairs of the party until the next convention and Makarfi was appointed chairman of the committee.
The Police on Monday, June 13, 2016 prevented Sheriff, from entering into the party’s National Secretariat in Abuja. Sheriff however gained entrance into the premises on orders from the former inspector general of police, Solomon Arase. At a press conference, Sheriff maintained that he is the authentic chairman of the PDP till 2018 adding that the Port Harcourt convention was null and void.
The Makarfi faction stated that Sheriff was hired by the APC to scuttle the party's chances at the Edo/Ondo governorship elections; they accused Sheriff of sponsoring Boko Haram.
Fall outs of this struggle include the forceful take over of the party's secretariat by angry mob and its subsequent closure on orders of IGP Arase.
Sheriff cancelled the Edo primary election of the party which produced Osagie Ize-Iyamu as its candidate and fixed Wednesday, June 29, 2016 for his group's election. Matthew Iduoriyekemwen, a former member of the Edo State House of Assembly emerged winner of the election.
But while Sheriff and his men were in Edo, an Abuja High Court sitting in Apo District of the Federal Capital Territory ordered the party’s factional chairman (Sheriff), and other officers of the party to refrain from parading themselves in those capacities.
The presiding judge, Valentine Ashi, declared "null and void" the amended PDP Constitution in 2014, which led to the emergence Sheriff as the party’s chairman, after the Muazu's resignation.
With this judgement, Sheriff has been stripped off his glorified position. Some political analysts have expressed fears that this may not lead to another crisis within the party. They are of the view that Sheriff would get another injunction to back his claim; a situation which may further increase the already existing division within the party.
Others, however of the view that this may be the end for Sheriff who recently said he would leave the office when due process is followed. Could this court order mean the much awaited due process Sheriff has been waiting for?
Again, emerging details indicates that the odds against him (Sheriff) have increased within the past few weeks. Governor Fayose (who was his closest ally) recently likened Sheriff to "bride who was diagnosed of HIV on her wedding night Similarly, 24 state chairmen have also declared support for Makarfi.
There is need party would need to re-organise house and obey its own laid down rules and regulations and apply sanctions where necessary. The PDP's inability to this may lead to the failure of the party come 2019.