Secondus survives, as PDP fixes convention for October
Embattled National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus

By Onozure Dania – Lagos

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, on Thursday refused to entertain a suit filed by the Uche Secondus led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) restraining the party and any other members of the party 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 and the National Convention except the one called by Uche Secondus, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

Justice Tijjani Ringim, declined to entertain the suit on the ground that the suit is unripe for hearing and that the defendants are yet to respond to the motion.

Applicants in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1117/2021, are: Uche Secondus Hon. Eddy Olafeso; Alhaji Rashidi Olakunle Sunmonu; Hon. Daisi Akintan; Hon. Bunmi Jenyo; Hon. Wahab Owokoniran

Also joined as respondents alongside the party are: Elder Yomi Akinwonmi (PDP Deputy National Chairman, South); Senator Suleiman (PDP Deputy National Chairman, North); Senator Ibrahim Tsauri (National Secretary, PDP); Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) as first to seven respondents.

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

However, a lawyer, Mr Chucks Ugo, announced his appearance for the party and Senator Ibrahim Tsauri, the party’s national Secretary (first and fifth respondents) while Mr Oladayo Ilori held the brief of Mr Olatunbosun Osifowora also claimed to be representing all the defendants except the party’s embattled national chairman, Dr Uche Secondus (second defendant) in the suit.

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Both Chucks and Oladayo informed the court that they all have the mandate of the respondents to represent them in the suit.

However, the presiding judge, Justice Ringim, after taking arguments on representation from Chucks and Oladayo, held that the two counsel are in disharmony and cannot represent a client.

Consequently, Justice Ringim urged the parties to resolve the issue of legal representation.

The judge also held that since the applicant’s processes were served on the respondents on September 2, the respondents are still within time to file their responses and that the motion is unripe for hearing.

Justice Ringim while citing the recent action of the Chief Justice of Nigeria on conflicting orders issued by court, urged all parties to explain to the court if the present suit is not an abuse of court process.

He however stated that the suit will be returned back to the Court’s Chief Judge (CJ) for reassignment, as there was no urgency in the affidavit filed by the applicants to entertain the suit during vacation.

The applicants are seeking for the following 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.

“An interlocutory order of injunction restraining the first, third, fourth and fifth defendants by themselves, their servants, agents, privies, associates or whosoever from stopping, disturbing or in any way interfering with the excise or the continues exercise by the second Defendant of the powers, duties and functions of his office as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or from limiting or usurping his Powers, functions and duties as provided for under the constitution of the Peoples Democratic Party pending the hearing and determination of the substantive sult.

“An interlocutory order directing the second defendant/Respondent to forthwith resume the exercise of all his Powers, Duties, function and privileges at the National Chairman of the first defendant as guaranteed him under the Constitution of the first defendant as amended in 2017 pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

“An interlocutory order of injunction restraining the first, third, fourth and fifth defendants/respondents by themselves, their servants, agents, privies, associates or whosoever during the tenure in office of the second Defendant, from communicating, sending any correspondence or making any requests or establishing any manner of official contact whatsoever on behalf of the first defendant with the sixth and seventh Defendants and all agencies or organs of the Federal Government under the supervision and control of the seventh defendant; other than through the 2nd Defendant or on his direction or authorization pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

“An interlocutory order of injunction restraining the sixth and seventh defendants, and all agencies or organs of the Federal Government under the supervision and control of the seventh defendant, from receiving or maintaining any communication or request whatsoever from any organ or official of the First Defendant or acting on any such request other than from the second defendant or at his direction or authorization pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit”.

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