PDP crisis: Secondus presides over NEC today, convention tops agenda

National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prince Uche Secondus, is set to preside over the National Executive Committee meeting of the party scheduled to hold in Abuja on Saturday (today).

The meeting was called to ratify the decision by the National Caucus of the party which had proposed October 30 and 31, 2021 for the party’s national convention.

A top member of the party told one of our correspondents that leaders of the party met with Secondus and agreed that he would preside over the NEC meeting, where other decisions like the composition of members of its zoning committee that would decide on zones where officials of the incoming members of the National Working Committee would come from.

“Secondus is expected to preside over the NEC meeting on Saturday. We need to move on. There is no need fighting again. What the NEC meeting would do is just to ratify the decisions made by the national caucus. The fight is on the need to hold national convention. I think we need to move on,” the source said.

When he resumed at the party’s headquarters on Friday, Secondus told reporters that the PDP was known for respecting court orders.

He said, “It’s good to be back. We are a party that respects the rule of law. We obey court orders, we obeyed the order given last week and we are obeying the one given yesterday. We have a series of meetings today.”

Recall that a Kebbi State High Court sitting in Birnin Kebbi and presided over by Justice Nusirat Umar, had on Thursday, granted an interim order reinstating Secondus as the PDP national chairman.

The interim order was granted in respect of suit number KB/HC/M.171/2021.

Claimants in the suit are Yahaya Usman, Abubakar Muhammad and Bashar Suleman, while Secondus and the PDP were listed as defendants.

Apart from issuing a stay of execution on an interim injunction restraining Secondus from parading himself as the national chairman, the Kebbi court granted “leave to the first respondent (Secondus) to continue exercising all the constitutional powers of the office of chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party as enshrined in both the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended and the PDP Constitution pending the hearing and determination of the applicants’ motion on notice.”

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Earlier on Monday, a Rivers State High Court had granted an interim injunction restraining Secondus, from parading himself as chairman and member of the PDP.

Justice O. Gbasam of the Degema Judicial Division vacation court, sitting in Port Harcourt, granted the order.

This was sequel to the consideration of an ex parte application in suit No: PHC/2183/CS/2021 filed by Ibeabuchi Ernest Alex, Dennis Nna Amadi, Emmanuel Stephen and Umezirike Onucha against Uche Secondus (1st defendant) and the PDP (2nd defendant).

The judge, after reading the affidavit in support of the motion of ex parte as well as the written address, and after hearing the submission of H.A. Bello, counsel to applicants, granted the interim injunction.

Meanwhile, the proposal on national convention was part of the resolutions reached at the end of the 40th national caucus meeting of the party, held in Abuja, on Friday.

Reading the resolutions after the meeting, the Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, said, “we have resolved to submit to the NEC of our party tomorrow (Saturday) recommendation from the National Working Committee for the National Convention of our party to be held between Friday, 30th of October, and Saturday, 31st of October. The venue will be determined tomorrow (today) by NEC.”

On the conflicting court orders over the position of the party’s National Chairman, Tambuwal said, “This distinguished body had empanelled eight 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 now withdrawn and then for normalcy to continue to return to the party.

“I appeal on behalf of this body to all well-meaning members of our party in the interest of the party to sheath their sword and let us embrace peace because Nigeria is waiting for the PDP and I believe that we have the capacity to resolve whatever issues we have internally.”

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Earlier, there was mild drama at the beginning of the meeting.

Aides of Secondus moved into the National Executive Committee Hall, venue of the caucus meeting probably in a bid to pave the way for him to preside over the meeting.

This led to an uproar which prompted a three-man delegation, comprising the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Senator Walid Jibrin; the Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Aminu Tambuwal, and the party’s National Secretary, Senator Umar Tsauri, to visit Secondus, who was seated in his office, upstairs.

It was gathered that the delegation prevailed upon him to steer clear to allow for a peaceful resolution of what could have snowballed into a larger conflict.

On their return, the BoT Chairman called the meeting to order and handed over the microphone to the party’s acting National Chairman, Yemi Akinwonmi, to preside over the meeting.

Secondus, who was acting on an order of interim injunction from a Kebbi State High Court, ordering him to resume office on Thursday, was seated at his desk by 9.51 am in preparation for the meeting.

Since he was prevailed upon to stay away for the meeting Akinwonmi, presided.

In his opening remarks, Akinwonmi, who was panting at the time he took over the microphone, said, “Why I’m still panting is that it was too stressful for me, we had up to six meetings yesterday. On getting here today, a letter was served on me.

“I know the letter would be of importance to this meeting and I received it. Coincidentally, I showed the BoT Chairman (the letter), he said that he received a copy too, meaning that the letter was served on me and the BoT Chairman.”

But as Akinwonmi moved to read the contents of the letter, he was told to wait for the meeting proper to start. The meeting started after goodwill messages were received from Tambuwal, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and Senate Minority Leader, Eyinnaya Abaribe, after which reporters were asked to leave.

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In his remarks, Tambuwal said, “I want to assure you that our governors are working together for the benefit of our party, for the benefit of our country. With the assemblage of people here, by the grace of God Almighty, no issue can remain insurmountable.

“I have the confidence that, by the grace of God, whatever issues we have, we shall be able to, at this caucus meeting, resolve them.

“The governors of the party are ready to continue to work for the party, for their respective states and for us to continue to deliver good governance. I believe at the end of this meeting we shall see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Earlier, scores of Secondus supporters stormed the Wadata Plaza Secretariat of the party, in solidarity with him. They held several placards with inscriptions such as “Welcome Back, Total Chairman;” “Secondus Oyoyo.”

Acting on the order of the Rivers State High Court, the party organs, including the NWC, the BoT as well as the party’s Governors Forum ratified the Deputy National Chairman (South), Akinwonmi, as acting National Chairman, after a series of meetings on Thursday.

In a statement by his media adviser, Ike Abonyi, titled, “Secondus resumes office as Elder Akinwomi hands over,” Secondus said he had resumed office and had taken over the party’s affairs.

The statement read in part, “The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prince Uche Secondus, on Friday, took over the affairs of the party.

“Secondus was obeying the purported ex parte order of a Degema High Court in Rivers State but got reinstated after a Kebbi High Court presided over by Justice Nasirat Umar directed him to resume.”

The statement said following his reinstatement “at the brief handover, Prince Secondus pledged to continue providing astute leadership to the party. Elder Akinwonmi also announced his receipt of the court order which he presented to the caucus meeting.”

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