WHY PDP LEADERS ARE ANGRY WITH UCHE SECONDUS

Moves by the embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, to reverse some of the agreements reached at the August 10 expanded National Executive Committee meeting of the party, may have provoked the fresh pressure on him to quit immediately.

Another court injunction, the second in one week, stopping Secondus from parading himself as PDP National Chairman was slammed on him on Friday by a Cross River State High Court.

The injunction prevented him from presiding at a crucial meeting of the NEC held on Saturday where Abuja was chosen as venue for the October 30-31 convention.

The August 10 meeting had resolved, among other issues, that the convention would be held by the end of October, two months earlier than the expiration of the tenure of the Secondus-led National Executive Committee of the PDP.

It was supposed to be a soft landing for him following an unrelenting campaign by those demanding his immediate resignation.

But soon after the meeting, Secondus began to canvass the view that the October ending convention might not be feasible after all as the PDP must first hold outstanding congresses in nine states and work as a unit for the party’s candidate in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State.

A party source was quoted as saying: “When the PDP governors and elders met a fortnight ago to arrest the tenure crisis in the party, they did not pay attention to some constitutional and legal technicalities. They were only eager to prevail on key actors to sheathe their swords.

“For a national convention to hold, there must be ward, local government, zonal and state congresses in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). PDP is yet to conduct congresses in over seven states. This is a condition precedent which requires time.

“The implication of excluding the seven states or retaining the old executives is that the National Convention will be illegal. Any member of the party can go to court to invalidate the election of new officers.

“In fact, the PDP Constitution says the party shall be organised at the following levels: Ward, Local Government, Senatorial District, State, Zonal and National.”

Some top members of the PDP were said to have interpreted Secondus’ move as a plot to remain in office until December when his tenure should ordinarily expire.

They accused him of trying to frustrate decisions, especially the choice of October for the convention, collectively taken by the party’s hierarchy.

For the second day running, he was unable to take charge of a meeting of PDP leaders in Abuja following a fresh injunction restraining him from parading himself as PDP chairman.

The latest injunction was granted by Justice Edem Ita Koofreh of the Cross River State High Court, 48 hours after Secondus himself had obtained an order of his own from a Kebbi State High Court allowing him to return to his position.

It was the Kebbi High Court order that he took to the party’s National Secretariat on Friday in the hope that he would be allowed to take charge of a meeting of the PDP national caucus.

After the Friday meeting, the Deputy National Chairman (South), Elder Yemi Akinwonmi, who took charge at the deliberations, handed over to Secondus. The expectation was that he would be in charge of Saturday NEC meeting only for the latest court injunction to be slammed on him.

A party source said the PDP stakeholders were miffed by alleged grandstanding by Secondus against a resolution unanimously reached at the August 10 NEC meeting to convene the PDP national convention in October. The embattled chairman had presided at that NEC meeting where the decision was taken.

Days after the August 10 resolution was reached, Secondus had at different media engagements argued that there were state and local government congresses pending in about nine states and that those congresses could not be concluded before the proposed October date for the convention.

He had also argued that the October date was not practicable in view of the November 6 Anambra State Governorship Election, which he said must be concluded before the national convention could hold.

It was for these reasons that he declared that there was no way the convention would take place earlier than the end of November; a position party stakeholders considered an affront on the collective decision taken by NEC.

Justice Edem Ita Koofreh granted the said order of interim injunction against Secondus, pending the determination of suit HC/240/202 filed by one Enang Kanum Wani. Hearing in the matter was adjourned till September 7, 2021.

A Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt had, on Monday, issued an interim order restraining Secondus from parading himself as chairman and from presiding over activities of the party.

However, Secondus had, in a counter move, obtained another court injunction from a Kebbi High Court restoring him to his seat as chairman.

The party, at its National Caucus meeting on Friday, had set up an eight-member committee chaired by a former President of the Senate, Chief David Mark, to interface with parties to the litigation with a view to resolving same out of court. No time frame was announced for conclusion of the committee’s assignment.

Key decisions relating to the proposed convention had been deferred till another NEC meeting scheduled for September 9, the party said.

These decisions include the appointment of convention planning and zoning committees that would oversee logistics for the convention and zoning of elective party offices.

The NEC meeting, which was well attended by stakeholders, was presided over by the Acting National Chairman, Elder Yemi Akinwonmi.

Briefing reporters on Saturday at the end of the NEC meeting, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the NEC approved the October 30 to 31, 2021 convention date with Abuja as the venue.

He said: “NEC has resolved that Abuja will be the venue of the PDP National Elective Convention slated for October 31, 2021. NEC to meet on the 9th of September to approve the various nominations into the respective national convention committees.”

The PDP NEC urged members to “continue to make personal sacrifices in the overall interest of the party. Urges Nigerians to take a cue from our deliverables in our respective states as a sign of the improvements that our party wishes to deliver when elected in 2023.”

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