Court Affirms Uche Secondus’ Suspension As PDP Ward Congress Member

A combination of file photos of the PDP logo and Mr Uche Secondus

 

A High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has affirmed the suspension of Uche Secondus as a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by his ward executives.

Justice Okogbule Gbasam affirmed this in a judgement delivered on Friday, on the originating summons filed by some PDP members in Rivers State seeking the interpretation of the constitution of the party, whether Secondus is entitled to enjoy the rights and privileges of a National Chairman, having been suspended by the executives of his party in Ward 5, Ikuru Town in Andoni Local Government Area who accused him of involvement in anti-party activities.

The claimants also sought clarification of the court on Secondus’ rights to contest elections into any of the party positions or re-contest as the National Chairman of the party following his suspension.

The prayers were, however, contested by Secondus during proceedings through his Lawyer, Geoffrey Uwalaka.

But in his judgment, Justice Gbasam ruled that the affidavit filed by Uwalaka, being the counsel to Secondus, only argued that Secondus can solely be suspended from his position as a National Chairman by the National Executive Committee, and such is not substantial enough to save the embattled Chairman, because the crux of the litigation is his suspension from the party and not as National Chairman.

READ ALSO: PDP Crisis: Court Declines To Hear Suit On Secondus

He clarified that Secondus lost his right as the National Chairman of the party as a consequence of his suspension from the PDP in his Ward because he cannot lead a party he no longer belongs to.

On the argugment raised by the lawyer to Uche Secondus, who is the first defense counsel that a court cannot meddle into internal affairs of a political party, Justice Gbasam noted that the issue before his court is predicated on the judicial interpretation of the PDP constitution concerning Secondus’ right following his suspension and not to decide who holds what position in the party.

Probing further into the constitutional provisions of the PDP, the judge ruled that Article 59 (3) of the PDP constitution as amended in 2017, be expunged because the section which stated that only the National Executive Committee of the party can discipline the National Chairman or any other national officer, is against the law of natural justice.

He went further to give an order of perpetual injunction against Uche Secondus from performing any action while on suspension as a member of the PDP.

With the conclusion of the case at the State High Court in Port Harcourt, lawyers to the claimants and the first defendant (being Secondus) say they are ready to slug it out at the appeal court.

PDP Crisis: Court Declines To Hear Suit On Secondus

A file photo of National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Uche Secondus
A file photo of Mr Uche Secondus.

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has declined to entertain a suit filed by a faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking to restrain the party and any of its members from calling, summoning, or presiding over any meeting, except it is called by Mr Uche Secondus.

In a ruling on Thursday, Justice Tijjani Ringim declined to entertain the suit on the grounds that it was not ripe for hearing since the defendants listed therein were yet to respond to it.

Listed as plaintiffs in the suit were Mr Eddy Olafeso, Mr Rashidi Sunmonu, Mr Daisi Akintan, Mr Bunmi Jenyo, and Mr Wahab Owokoniran.

They are seeking among other reliefs, “An interlocutory order of injunction restraining the first, third, fourth, and fifth defendants by themselves, their servants, agents, privies or any member of the defendant whatsoever, other than the second defendant, from calling, summoning or presiding over any meeting of the party whatsoever, including the meeting of any committee of the party, any congress of the party, the National Working Committee, the National Executive Committee, the National Convention, and all other organs or bodies of the party pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.”

Those listed as defendants are the PDP, Secondus, Yomi Akinwonmi (PDP Deputy National Chairman, South), Senator Suleiman Nazif (PDP Deputy National Chairman, North), Senator Ibrahim Tsauri (National Secretary, PDP), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Thursday, counsel to the plaintiffs, Chimezie Ihekweazu (SAN), told the court that his client’s application was ripe for hearing following a ruling delivered by the court on September 1, that all parties in the suit be put on notice while the court fixed September 9 for hearing of the suit.

But a lawyer, Mr Chuks Ugo, announced his appearance for the PDP and Senator Tsauri – the first and fifth respondents – while another lawyer, Mr Oladayo Ilori, held the brief of Mr Olatunbosun Osifowora who also claimed to be representing all the defendants in the suit except the party’s embattled national chairman, Secondus (the second defendant).

Mr Ugo and Mr Ilori both informed the court that they have the mandate of the defendants to represent them in the suit.

After listening to both lawyers, Justice Ringim held that the two counsels were in disharmony and cannot represent the same client.

He asked the parties to resolve the issue of legal representation.

The judge also held that since the plaintiff’s processes were served on the defendants on September 2, the defendants were still within time to file their responses.

He declared that the motion was not ripe for hearing.

While citing the recent comments of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) on conflicting court orders, Justice Ringim sought to know if the present suit was not before another court and did not constitute an abuse of the court process.

He also said the suit would be returned to the Chief Judge of the court for reassignment, as there was no urgency in the affidavits filed by the applicants to entertain it during the court’s vacation.

PDP Leadership: We Want A National Chairman That Will Not Take Sides – Sen Jibrin

 

The Chairman Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Walid Jibrin, has said that the party needs a reliable chairman who would not take any sides but be the man for all.

Jibrin who was a guest on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics, said this while responding to questions about the party’s leadership crisis.

When asked if he would love to see the embattled Chairman, Uche Secondus, return as the party’s chairman after the convention in October, Jibrin said: “We have held so many meetings to look at the left, right, front and back, to look at the real situation that will be better for us.”

“When we were discussing, we did not say that Secondus should be sent away immediately, no.

“We gave him all the respect, all the opportunity to think and for him to even come out and make a decision by himself, not for us to make a decision for him.

“I’ve seen the rumours that there are some particular people who want him out immediately, No.

“For you to tell me that right away, the aim is to sack him, or to disgrace him, no we are not ready for that.

“We are ready for him to come and talk to us, agree with us so that we can leave peaceably”.

Speaking further, the BoT chairman, pointed out some qualities which he believes would make a good leader for the party.

“At this stage, we are in now, we need to have a very sound, clever, party chairman that will lead this party,” he said.

“We must have someone who is consistent in his loyalty to the party. He should be well-grounded in politics both at the national and local levels with a good reputation for excellent leadership.

“Somebody who will be for all of us and make sure that he does not take sides”.

Read Also: Secondus Returns To Office As PDP National Chairman

His comments follow several calls for the resignation of Mr Secondus by some aggrieved party members.

They believe that he is more “preoccupied with holding onto his position rather than preparing for the next elections” and have also accused him of having “no clear road map, blueprint or policy programme for the PDP.”

Last week, a High Court in Rivers State granted an interim order restraining Mr Secondus from parading or acting as the National Chairman of the PDP.

The Kebbi State High Court on Thursday, however, ordered him to return to his position.

Speaking of the forthcoming Presidential election, the BoT chairman said the PDP has ruled Nigeria for 16 years and he is optimistic about the party’s ability to reclaim power in 2023.

“We are ready to rule again come 2023,” he said.

“We have candidates and personalities in the PDP that are capable of becoming President of Nigeria.

“There are many of them and we can pick anyone from any part of this country to be the president of Nigeria but it is not time for us to do that now”.

Secondus Absent As Akinwonmi Presides Over PDP NEC Meeting

The Peoples Democratic Party held its 92nd National Executive Committee on August 28, 2021.
The Peoples Democratic Party held its 92nd National Executive Committee on August 28, 2021.

 

The Peoples Democratic Party’s 92nd National Executive Committee meeting was presided over by Elder Yemi Akinwonmi on Saturday.

Akinwonmi is the acting National Chairman of the party after a court order restrained Uche Secondus from the role.

Secondus has since obtained another court order reinstating him as the National Chairman.

READ ALSO: Secondus Returns To Office As PDP National Chairman

But, in a letter obtained by Channels Television, Secondus asked Akinwonmi to preside over Saturday’s meeting in his absence.

“I hereby request you to preside over the National Executive Committee meeting of the Party, taking place today, 28th August, [email protected] 12 noon, in my absence,” the letter read.

NEC meeting

At Saturday’s meeting, Akinwonmi said consultations within the party are yielding desired results.

He condemned the country’s deteriorating security situation and high cost of living owing to the weakness of the naira against other currencies.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, Senator Walid Jubril, said the problems in the party are not insurmountable.

He noted that challenges and disputes are a fact of life in any party, but how they are resolved matters most.

He advised the party not to fail Nigerians, as it remains the last hope of citizens.

There is no way the PDP can win elections if it is divided, he added.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, also expressed confidence in the party’s internal mechanism to resolve its crisis.

He also took a swipe at the incumbent government, insisting that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) government has taken the country backward since they came into power in 2015.

Secondus Returns To Office As PDP National Chairman

 

Mr Uche Secondus on Friday returned to office as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) amid the leadership crisis in the main opposition party.

His action followed the ruling of a Kebbi State High Court in Birnin Kebbi presided by Justice Nusirat Umar who ordered him to return to office.

On Monday, a Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt presided by Justice Okogbule Gbasam restrained Secondus from parading or acting as the PDP National Chairman.

“An order of this honourable court granting leave to the first respondent (Uche Secondus) to continue exercising all the constitutional powers of the office of Chairman of PDP (second defendant) as enshrined in both 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, as amended and the Peoples Democratic Party’s constitution pending the hearing and final determination of applicant’s motion on notice,” Justice Umar later ordered on Thursday while ruling on a suit marked KB/AC/M.170/2021.

Mr Uche Secondus returned to office as the PDP National Chairman on August 27, 2021.

 

A day after the ruling of the court in Kebbi, Secondus reappeared at the party’s secretariat at a time when members of the PDP Board of Trustees met on Friday to review the leadership crisis bedevilling the party.

Rather than joining the meeting, he walked straight to his office and sat on his chair to reclaim the chairmanship of the party.

Mr Yemi Akinwonmi, who had assumed the party’s leadership in an acting capacity, sat on the chair of the PDP National Chairman at the meeting.

He drew the attention of the party leaders to a letter he received when he got into the office without disclosing its content to the media.

A file photo of Mr Yemi Akinwonmi.

 

“My dear caucus, the letter is very important, and I will want us, if possible, to first discuss the content of the letter before doing other things today (Friday),” said the PDP chieftain who is the PDP Deputy National Chairman (South).

Among those present at the meeting were the party’s BoT Chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin, and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, as well as former Senate Presidents David mark, Pius Ayim, and Bukola Saraki.

Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, and his Enugu State counterpart, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, also attended.

A file photo of Walid Jibrin.

 

Governor Tambuwal told reporters at the end of the meeting that the party leaders have decided to set up a committee to address the issues and return normalcy to the PDP.

“This distinguished body has empanelled its distinguished leaders of our party under the able leadership of a former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, to interface with our leaders who are involved in these issues of court, so that all court matters can be withdrawn and for normalcy to continue to return to the party,” he said.

Kebbi Court Restores Secondus As PDP National Chairman

A combination of file photos of the PDP logo and Mr Uche Secondus

 

The Kebbi State High Court on Thursday ordered Secondus to return to his position as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), days after he was removed from the post. 

The presiding judge, Justice Nusirat Umar said she was satisfied after reading the affidavit of the respondents that an interim order should be granted on the purported suspension of Prince Secondus pending the determination of the case.

She gave the order in a suit brought before her in Birnin Kebbi in case KB/AC/M. 170/2021.

“An order of this honourable court granting leave to the first respondent (Uche Secondus) to continue exercising all the constitutional powers of the office of Chairman of PDP (second defendant) as enshrined in both 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended and the Peoples Democratic Party’s constitution pending the hearing and final determination of applicant’s motion on notice,” the order read.

The three concerned members of the party, Yahaya Usman, Abubakar Mohammed and Bashar Suleman are the claimants/applicants in the case while Prince Secondus and the PDP are the defendants/respondents.

 

Court Ruling: I Have Assumed PDP Leadership, Says Akinwonmi

A file photo of the PDP logo.

 

The Deputy National Chairman (South) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Yemi Akinwonmi, says he has assumed leadership of the party.

This follows the order of a High Court in Rivers State restraining Mr Uche Secondus from parading himself as the National Chairman of the party.

Defending his action in a statement on Tuesday, Akinwonmi explained that taking over the party’s leadership was in line with the PDP constitution.

“Section 35(3) (b) of the constitution of the Peoples Democratic Party empowers me to summon and preside over party meetings in the absence of the national chairman,” he said.

READ ALSO: Secondus Reacts To Court Order On His Position

“Our attention was drawn yesterday (Monday) evening to a court order which purports to restrain our National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, from summoning and presiding over the meetings of the organs of the party.”

Akinwonmi’s first assignment was to postpone the meeting of the National Working Committee (NWC) earlier scheduled for Tuesday until further notice.

According to him, this was done in exercise of the powers of his office and to allow for broader consultations in the overall interest of the party.

The PDP has been enmeshed in a leadership crisis, with some internal interests calling for the resignation of the NWC led by Secondus.

After a consultative meeting of governors and the party’s Board of Trustees two weeks ago, the party announced that it has resolved its problems, and mandated the NWC conduct a national congress in November.

But the crisis took a new dimension on Monday when Justice Okogbule Gbasam of the Degema Division of the High Court sitting in Port Harcourt granted an interim order restraining Secondus from parading as the PDP national chairman, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

The order of the vacation court followed a motion ex parte marked PHC/2183/CS/2021 and filed by four persons – Ibeawuchi Alex, Dennis Amadi, Emmanuel Stephen, and Umeziriki Onucha.

Secondus and the main opposition party were listed as the first and second respondents to the suit.

‘PDP Is Bigger Than Desperadoes’: Secondus Reacts To Court Order On His Position

A file photo of PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus.

 

Mr Uche Secondus has reacted to the court order restraining him from acting as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

His reaction follows the ruling of Justice Okogbule Gbasam of the Degema Division of the Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt.

“If Secondus and the party are taken to court, they will defend themselves,” Secondus’ media aide, Ike Abonyi, said in a statement on Monday.

“PDP and Secondus are not afraid of court; this party is a child of history, owned by Nigerians, bigger than any individual or group, including desperadoes.”

Abonyi, however, claimed that the story of the restraining order originated through the special assistant on media to the Rivers State Governor.

Justice Gbasam made the order while ruling on a motion ex parte marked PHC/2183/CS/2021 and filed by four persons – Ibeawuchi Alex, Dennis Amadi, Emmanuel Stephen, and Umeziriki Onucha.

Secondus and the main opposition party were listed as the first and second respondents to the suit.

Amid calls for the resignation of the PDP national chairman, seven national officers of the party resigned from their roles on August 3.

The affected officers claimed that they were being side-lined and treated unfairly by Secondus, but the PDP national chairman denied the allegation.

Two days later, members of the PDP Board of Trustees held an emergency meeting to resolve the crisis in the party.

Barely a few weeks to the meeting of the party leaders, the controversy took a new twist with the court order restraining Secondus from parading as the PDP national chairman, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

Justice Gbasam also made an order restraining the PDP national chairman from parading as a member of the party, or other related functions.

He also granted the request to serve by substituted means all orders made by the court on the respondents and by publishing same in a newspaper.

Court Restrains Secondus From Acting As PDP National Chairman

A combination of file photos of the PDP logo and Mr Uche Secondus

 

A High Court in Rivers State has granted an interim order restraining Mr Uche Secondus from parading or acting as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Justice Okogbule Gbasam of the Degema Division of the Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt gave the order on Monday.

“That an order of interim injunction is granted restraining the first defendant from parading himself as a member of the second defendant or national chaiman of the defendant or performing the functions of national chairman of the second defendant or any committee of the second defendants at ward, local government or state level or calling for any ward, local government or state congress of the second defendant or setting up committees for such congresses or participating in any activity of the second defendant whatsoever whilst on suspension as a member of the second defendant pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction,” he said.

The order of the vacation court follows a motion ex parte marked PHC/2183/CS/2021 and filed by four persons – Ibeawuchi Alex, Dennis Amadi, Emmanuel Stephen, and Umeziriki Onucha.

READ ALSO: Secondus Reacts To Court Judgement

Secondus and the main opposition party were listed as the first and second respondents to the suit.

According to documents signed by the Assistant Chief Registrar (Litigation) of the court, Patricia Victor-Nwoka, Justice Gbasam also ordered Secondus to stop parading himself as a member of the PDP.

He made the order after reading the affidavit in support of the motion ex parte and the written address, as well as heard the submissions of the counsel for the applicants.

 

A New Twist

The ruling of the vacation court is the latest in the series of events triggered by the crisis rocking the national leadership of the PDP.

A former spokesman for the PDP Presidential Campaign, Kasim Afegbua, had accused Secondus and the leadership of the party of committing a series of offences.

He submitted petitions to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in April, to probe the party’s leadership.

Afegbua asked the anti-corruption agencies to look into the financial transactions of Secondus, in the spirit of transparency, accountability, and book-keeping, in line with the existing anti-corruption laws.

But Secondus and others have since denied any wrongdoing. Despite their position, there have been calls from some members of the party demanding the resignation of the PDP national chairman.

On August 3, seven national officers of the main opposition party resigned from their roles, alleging that they were being side-lined and treated unfairly by Secondus.

This, among several other events, forced an emergency meeting of members of the PDP Board of Trustees who sought ways to resolve the crisis in the party.

However, the controversy has taken a new twist with the court order restraining Secondus from parading as the PDP national chairman, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

Justice Gbasam made an order granting leave to serve by substituted means the originating summons, motion on notice, all orders made by the court, as well as all subsequent processes on Secondus by pasting them on the gate of his house in the state capital, and by publishing same in a newspaper.

He also granted the request to serve by substituted means all orders made by the court on the respondents and by publishing same in a newspaper.

Obasanjo Meets Secondus, Advises Politicians On 2023 Elections

A combination of file photos of Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus.

 

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has asked political elites and the Federal Government to prioritise the security and economy of the nation, rather than the current agitation about the 2023 general elections.

He believes while the polls are equally important, the major focus should be on the challenges facing the country and impeding its growth and development.

The elder statesman made the call on Thursday when he met with the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus, at his residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

He decried that the country has not attained its destined position in the comity of states after many failed opportunities.

Despite the current situation which he described as bad but not unredeemable, Obasanjo is hopeful that the country will be great again with justice and equity.

In his remarks, Secondus commended the leadership quality of the former president and one of the founding fathers of the main opposition party.

Amid the recent disagreements within the party, he is confident that the PDP is emerging stronger ahead of the forthcoming elections.

“We discussed at length and he has rekindled hope as far as we are concerned that Nigeria will be great again, and we are going out here with our hope strengthened that by the special grace of God, we will have a (better) country,” Secondus said.

After the closed-door engagement which lasted about two hours, Obasanjo and Secondus were received at the board room of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library by members of the PDP in Ogun State.

Addressing the party faithful, they called for all hands to be on deck to rebuild the fortunes of the country.

PDP Fixes April 10 For Zonal Congresses

A file photo of National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Uche Secondus
A file photo of the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Uche Secondus

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has fixed April 10 for the commencement of zonal congresses in the South West, North West and North Central regions.

PDP announced this in a letter jointly signed by its National Chairman, Uche Secondus and Secretary, Senator Umar Tsauri and addressed to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

According to the main opposition party, the South West exercise will hold in Ibadan, noting that the North West congress will hold in Kaduna with that of the North Central taking place in Makurdi.

READ ALSO: ‘The Game Is Over,’ PDP Faults Extension Of APC Membership Registration Deadline

“Please refer to our earlier letter with ref No.PDP/DOM/GF.2/VOL.IM/21-015, in which we informed the Commission (INEC) of the postponement of our planned zonal congresses in North West,  South West and North Central,” the letter partly read.

“We now wish to inform the commission of new dates for the North West, south-west and Northcentral zones.

“Please note that all our party’s activities shall be in accordance with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines on COVID-19 as they concern social/physical distancing if people gathering in one place,” the PDP said.

Embark On Immediate Electoral Reforms, PDP Tells Buhari, APC

 

The main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to embark on immediate electoral reform that will guarantee free, fair, and transparent elections in 2023.

National Chairman of the Party, Uche Secondus, disclosed this at a meeting held on Wednesday at PDP national headquarters in Abuja.

“We urge President Buhari and his APC administration to embark on immediate electoral reform that will ensure free, fair, and transparent election in the country and put Nigeria in the piety with other developed democracies in the world, just like Ghana,” Secondus said.

READ ALSO: Principal’s Arrest Forces Bauchi Govt To Shut School

The party accused the President and the ruling party, APC of putting hurdles in the way to conducting credible elections and warns that the citizens will not accept this.

Chairman of the PDP reconciliation committee, Senator Bukola Saraki in his address called for unity among members of the party.

“I think we need to be strong enough to face the challenge. It will be tough, it will be rough, but please let us not give up this party,” Saraki said.

Other members of the party also stressed the need for unity and the inclusion of youths and women in its elective positions if it must regain power in the 2023 election.