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2023, PDP Crises and the bludgeoned Secondus

PDP in the last few weeks has experienced teething leadership jigsaw as the party reposition for 2023. MYKE UZENDU examines the intricacies and fate of its embattled Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.

For months, the crisis threatening the soul of the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appears insurmountable. For a party desirous of journeying to the centre in the 2023 election cycle, the self-inflicted troubles couldn’t have come at a worse time.

The genealogy of the crisesAlthough, forces bent on shoving national chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus out of office have been at work for close to a year; the internal squabbles hit new heights when a member of the party and former Commissioner of Information in Edo state, Prince Kassim Afegbua accused him of financial recklessness.
The allegation was an off-shoot of a memo from the office of the party’s National Auditor where the party boss was accused of financial malfeasance but the auditor, Adamu Mustapha later gave Secondus’ financial transactions  a clean bill of health.

The plot grew intense following the resignation of seven national officers who branded the national chairman a lone ranger, running the affairs of the party almost like a personal fiefdom.

To worsen an already bad situation, Mr Sunday Udeh-Okoye, National Youth Leader of the party joined the anti-Secondus forces and claimed that in the event of the PDP boss’ failure to throw in the towel, about 10 members of the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party would leave.

Almost simultaneously, more voices, including placards carrying youths, joined the call for the sack of Secondus and despite the attempt by highly-placed PDP stalwarts to resolve the crisis; it only festered and grew more intense with each passing day.

The Legal Landmines

The forces angling for the removal of Secondus approached a State High court in Port Harcourt, procured an ex-parte order signed by Justice O. Gbasam of the Degema judicial division, originating from 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) restraining Secondus from parading himself as the national chairman of PDP and suspended him from membership of the party.

But in a counter order, Justice Nusirat. I. Umar a vacation Judge of the Kebbi state High Court on Thursday 26 August, 2021 ordered Prince Uche Secondus to return to his position as the National Chairman.

Giving the order in a suit brought before her in Birinin Kebbi in case no. KB/AC/M. 170/2021, Justice 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.

Three concerned members of the party, Yahaya Usman , Abubakar Mohammed and Bashar Suleman are the claimants/Applicant in the case while Prince Secondus and the PDP are the defendants/Respondents

In a renewed battle for supremacy, Justice Edem Ita Koofreh of Calabar High Court also granted another ex-parte order against  Secondus.

The judge in a suit number HC/240/202 filed by Mr Enang Kanum Wani also barred Uche Secondus from re-contesting for the post of the national chairman of PDP, from attending National Executive Committee NEC meeting of the party pending the determination of the suit.

The PDP Governors Intervene

Conscious of a possible implosion, the PDP Governors’ Forum, led by its chairman and governor of Sokoto state, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal convened series of meetings in a bid to resolve the crisis.

Arising from a meeting in Abuja on Thursday which was attended by all the PDP governors, Tambuwal on behalf of his colleagues resolved to invoke the doctrine of necessity and according to section 45 (1,2) of PDP constitution, threw their support behind Elder Yemi Akinownmi (Deputy Chairman South) who was constitutionally powered to lead the opposition party when the national Chairman is incapacitated.

PDP Caucus move to save party.

As part of the measures to untangle itself from the current political cobweb, the party constituted a peace committee chaired by former Senate President, Senator David Mark and affirmed its convention date.

Addressing newsmen after the meeting, Tambuwal said, “We have just risen from our 40th meeting of the National caucus of our great party the PDP, where we have resolved to submit to the NEC of our party tomorrow, a recommendation from the National Working Committee for the national convention of our party to be held between Friday 30th of October to Saturday 31st of October, will be determined by the grace of God tomorrow by NEC.

“Also, this distinguished body had empaneled distinguished leaders of our party, under the leadership of 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 return to the party”.

NEC Roll Out Convention Timetable

After its 92nd meeting which was chaired by the party’s Acting chairman, NEC resolved to hold the forth coming convention in Abuja. It further adopted the committee membership structure designed by the NWC which will lead to nomination of members for the convention committee, zoning committee for the presidential candidate, party chairman zoning and other critical committees.

Addressing the press after the meeting, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan disclosed some of its resolutions thus,

“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 9″ of September to approve the various nominations into the respective national convention committees”.

PDP Governors Forum Denies Asking Secondus to Quit

The PDP Governors forum has denied the insinuation that it had asked Prince Uche Secondus to quit as National Chairman of PDP, in spite of the Kebbi State High Court Order reinstating him.

The forum’s Director General, CID Maduabum said that PDP Governors Forum at its emergency meeting on Thursday, 26th August, merely endorsed the NWC resolution adopting Elder Yemi Akinwonmi, the Deputy National Chairman, South as acting National Chairman of PDP, and the holding of the NEC meeting of PDP on Saturday, 28th August, 2021”.

Secondus Insists on Completing Tenure

Sources close to the party disclosed to our reporter that the embattled Chairman has not hidden his move to complete his tenure despite his present ordeal.

The source said that his position is hinged on the party’s constitution, Section 47 (1) which states, “All national, zonal, state, local government area and ward officers of the party shall hold office for a term of four years and shall be eligible for re-election for another term and no more”.

He said, “Secondus will do everything possible to vacate the Port Hacourt and Calabar High Court orders which impedes him from completing his tenure.  

“Some supporters of Secondus may be heading to the court to get an injunction restraining the party from conducting its convention in October”.

The source said that allowing the convention to hold in October and cutting shot the live span of the present NWC will be a grave injustice to them and throw up a new precedence that will lead to “intractable political hemorrhage in the PDP”.

END

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