Uncertainty hangs over new PDP leadership as Secondus approaches Supreme Court

The suspended Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Uche Secondus, has filed a notice of appeal before the Supreme Court asking it to declare that only he had the legal right to preside over the last national convention.

Secondus is also seeking an order declaring that his suspension at the ward level was not enough reason for him to vacate office of the national chairman of the PDP.

On August 23, 2021, some members of the party instituted a suit marked PHC/2183/CS/2021 at the High Court of Rivers State, Port Harcourt Judicial Division, with Secondus and the PDP as defendants. The applicants asked the court to stop Secondus from parading himself as the PDP chairman as he had been suspended at his ward.

The court subsequently restrained Secondus from performing the functions of the office of the national chairman of the PDP, but he filed an appeal before the Court of Appeal, demanding that his suspension be declared illegal and the party be prevented from holding its October 30 and 31 convention unless he was allowed to preside over the exercise.

His appeal was thrown out and the court gave the PDP the green light to hold its convention. At the national convention, a former Senate President, Iyorchia Ayu, emerged as the chairman of the party and is expected to resume alongside other members of the National Working Committee on December 9, 2021.

However, Secondus is now praying the Supreme Court to declare that the appellate court erred in its judgment.

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According to the appeal filed by his lawyer, Mr Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), there are three grounds for appeal.

Secondus said Section 222(c) of the Nigerian Constitution required every political party to have a constitution, which shall be registered with the Independent National Electoral Commission.

According to him, Article 35(1) (b) of the PDP’s Constitution confers on the national chairman of the party the right to preside over the national convention, but the appellate court gave the party the right to hold the convention without him.

The embattled chairman also argued that the fact that he was suspended at his ward did not translate to him being suspended as the chairman of the PDP.

The notice of appeal read in part, “The Court of Appeal erred in law when it held that the appellant had no legal right or interest to protect by his application, which was filed on October 14, 2021 and re-filed on October 27, 2021.

“The Court of Appeal erred in law and violated the appellant’s right to fair hearing when it held that the appellant, having been suspended as a member of the 6th respondent (the PDP), could not continue to function as the national chairman.

“The Court of Appeal erred in law in dismissing the appellant’s application, which was filed on October 14, 2021 and re-filed on October 27, 2021.”

Secondus subsequently sought four reliefs including an order allowing the appeal, an order setting aside the decision of the appellate court and an order confirming that Article 35(I) (b) of the PDP Constitution confers on him the personal right to preside over the convention of the party.

Should the Supreme Court grant Secondus’ prayers, it will imply that everything that the PDP has done in his absence is null and void.

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who helped Secondus to emerge as chairman of the PDP in 2017, has been engaged in a feud with his erstwhile ally.

Wike had boasted that he had a hand in Secondus’ suspension.

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