PDP convention: Secondus heads for Supreme Court, vows to stop alleged impunity

PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus

 

The embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prince Uche Secondus, has headed for the Supreme Court to challenge the ruling of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division, which on Friday gave a nod for the party’s National Convention to hold in Abuja on Saturday (today).

He said impunity, which he alleged had driven the party to the precipice and threatened its internal democracy and unity, must be resisted at all costs.

In an interview with one of our correspondents, Secondus said he had instructed his lawyers to appeal the ruling at the apex court in the interest of justice.

He said if those who orchestrated and foisted what he described as an avoidable crisis on the party had listened to “wise counsel of party leaders and elders who advised the withdrawal of cases, this situation would have been avoidable. I wish the party well as always.”

The Appeal Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State had on Friday dismissed the appeal filed by Secondus seeking an interim injunction to restrain the PDP from conducting its National Convention scheduled for October 30 and 31, 2021 in Abuja.

The three-man appeal panel ruled that Secondus lacked the power to stop the party’s scheduled convention, pointing out that the national leadership of the party was not an exclusive preserve of the appellant (Secondus).

The court also said Secondus failed to challenge his suspension as a member of the party from his Ward 5 in Ikuru town, Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, a decision it said was affirmed by the State High Court in August 2021.

The court stated that he failed to join the party’s acting National Chairman, Yemi Akinwonmi,  in the suit challenging his (Akinwonmi) nomination by the party, insisting that the right which he claimed to be protecting had been withdrawn and given to Akinwonmi by the same party.

Justice Gabriel Kolawale, who read the ruling of the three-man panel headed by Justice Haruna Tsammani, also noted that Secondus did not indicate interest in his application to continue as the national chairman of the PDP after being suspended nor indicated any interest to re-contest for the position upon the expiration of his tenure on December 9, 2021, hence the application was a distraction to the planned national convention of the PDP.

Justice Kolawole refused to award costs against the appellant as sought by the respondents, adding that the application was not an abuse of court processes.

“The appellant motion on notice filed on October 27, 2021, fails and is hereby dismissed. By the power of this decision, the 6th respondent is empowered on the authority of this court’s decision to hold its national convention without any hindrance,” Justice Kolawale declared.

Speaking to journalists outside the courtroom, counsel for Secondus, Mr Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), said the dismissal of his client’s application was not the end of it as the instructions of the appeal were still alive.

He said, “The court has directed that the PDP can continue with the national convention. However, the instruction is that the appeal continues and depending on the outcome of the appeal, if it succeeds then it has an impact on whatever decision is taken on the national convention.

“So, it’s still not over. We still have an appeal pending before this court (Court of Appeal) waiting to be taken. That is when the court said they would give us a date to come and argue. It is the outcome of that that would determine the validity or otherwise (of our case).”

On his part, Henry Bello, counsel for the 1st to 5th respondents (Rivers local government council chair who took Secondus to the state High Court), who spoke on behalf of the respondents said the ruling was a ticket to a hitch-free national convention as scheduled.

Bello stated, “The Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt has delivered a considered ruling, where the court has dismissed the application of the appellant/applicant, Uche Secondus, to stop the national convention of the PDP.

“Rather, the court has ordered the PDP to go ahead with its national convention unhindered.”

On August 23, 2021, some PDP members instituted a suit at the Rivers State High Court with Secondus and the PDP as defendants.

On September 10, the court delivered its judgement and restrained Secondus from performing the duties of the party’s national chairman.

Secondus subsequently filed an appeal before the Court of Appeal on October 14, seeking an order of injunction restraining the PDP from holding or conducting the national convention, pending the hearing and final determination of the appeal.

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