•Secondus loses out, keeps mum as Ugwuanyi heads zoning c’ttee
•Party inaugurates Anambra campaign council
•Court declines halting Secondus’ suspension
By Clifford Ndujihe, Dirisu Yakubu & Onozure Dania
THE leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has appointed Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, as chairman of the party’s convention organising committee, with Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, as secretary.
The zoning committee would be chaired by Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, while Zamfara State Deputy Governor, Mohammed Mahdi, is the secretary of the committee.
Bayelsa State governor, Duoye Diri, was appointed deputy chairman of the convention planning committee, while his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom, is the deputy chairman of the zoning committee.
Addressing newsmen at the end of the party’s 93rd National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting yesterday, PDP National Publicity, Kola Ologbondiyan, said NEC received the report of Senator David Mark-led committee, empanelled to address the lingering court cases against the leadership of the PDP, stressing that the issues would be laid to rest in a matter of days.
Meanwhile, Vanguard gathered that governors were initially opposed to the choice of Fintiri, given his closeness to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
Atiku, who is vying for the presidential ticket of the party in the 2023 election, was the biggest winner as the governors put away their fears to embrace Fintiri as head of the convention committee.
Suspended National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, seemed the biggest loser as one of his staunch supporter, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, got the plum job of chairing the zoning committee.
With this development, governors have taken over the affairs of the party with the endorsement of NEC.
Secondus keeps mum
However, the party has a lot of work to do to lay the issues to rest as Ologbondiyan said. ”The leaders have to get Secondus to accept the latest decision.”
Vanguard learned that Secondus, who is not happy with how some party leaders plotted to ”disgrace” him out of office, is bent on completing his four-year term, which will elapse in December, 2021.
He is already at the Court of Appeal challenging his suspension by two courts in Rivers State. He also has cases against his suspension in Lagos, Kebbi and Abuja.
If the courts rule in favour of Secondus, actions taken by the party without him might affect PDP in future polls.
He reportedly avoided the Senator Mark committee in order not to jeopardise his case because those against him are unrelenting in their moves.
Efforts to get Secondus to speak on the decisions of the party’s hierarchy, yesterday, did not bear fruits. His spokesman, Mr Ike Abonyi declined comments as well.
Asked to speak on the issues affecting the suspended PDP chairman, Abonyi said: ”No comment for now.”
The NEC meeting
The NEC meeting was attended by Atiku Abubakar, 13 governors elected on the party’s platform, former PDP governors as well as members of the NEC and Board of Trustees, BoT, of the party.
Earlier in the day, the party inaugurated its national campaign council for Anambra governorship election slated for November 6.
Inaugurating the council, acting national chairman of the PDP, Elder Yemi Akinwonmi, called for togetherness among council members.
“I call on members of the council and Ndi Anambra to close ranks and deliver the state to PDP family. The co-operation of all and sundry is expected for the actualisation of the PDP dream. I would like to seize this opportunity to appreciate, on behalf of the PDP, all the aspirants, who dramatically contested with the candidate. Your spirit of sportsmanship is wonderful.
Deputy Chairman of the Council, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, said the PDP was set to win Anambra elections.
“We want to reassure the party that we are going to put in our best to ensure that we reconcile everyone. We will go into that election as one body and definitely we are going to win that election by the special grace of God.
“We know our people in Anambra are party people. We know also that there have been issues in the past, those issues that divide us. We are going to work day and night to ensure that we all step out of our comfort zones and step into the field to talk to the people, and to win back all who have left the party, as much as possible,” Okowa said.
He expressed optimism that there would be no rigging in the elections following the introduction of new technology by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
“I am glad that INEC itself has come out with a new device for the purpose of the Anambra election and it will be tested first in Delta State on Saturday.
“I am told, from the information we already have ahead of the election in Delta on Saturday, that it would not be possible for anybody to rig elections because there will be no use of incident forms.
Okowa assured the party leaders that the council would work with the state campaign council to deliver Anambra State back to the PDP.
The party’s Governorship Candidate, Valentine Ozigbo, expressed gratitude to God and the party for counting him worthy to fly the flag of the party.
“I am here to also make a pledge that we will put in everything we have to ensure we regain the lost glory in Anambra State and PDP will take over this year.
Court declines halting Secondus’ removal
Meanwhile, a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, refused to entertain a suit filed by Secondus seeking to restrain 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 him, 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, yesterday, 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 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.
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 the 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 any urgency in the affidavit filed by the applicants to entertain the suit during vacation.
Vanguard News Nigeria