By Dirisu Yakubu – Abuja
Anxiety hovers the national elective convention of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, slated for October 31 as former national chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, has filed a court injunction praying same to stop the exercise from holding.
Secondus who stated this in a letter addressed to the PDP leadership through his lawyer, Tayo Oyetibo, counseled the PDP not to conduct the convention until the determination and hearing of an application of injunction in court.
Secondus threatened to bring the full weight of the law against all national officers of the party if the party goes ahead with the convention.
The letter dated October 21, 2021 was addressed to the PDP acting national chairman; the chairman of PDP national convention; PDP national organizing secretary; PDP national legal adviser and the PDP national secretary.
With Ref number: CA/PH1341/2021, the letter was “entitled Prince Uche Secondus Vs Ibeawuchi E. Alex & ors And pendency of Application For Injunction To Restrain The Holding of PDP National Convention.”
Recall that Secondus had gone to appellate court to overturn a high court verdict which upheld his suspension from the party over anti-party activities.
The high court judgement was an outcome of a suit filed by some members of the PDP in Rivers state who enjoy the blessing of the governor, Nyesom Wike, an estranged ally of Secondus.
But attempts by the party leadership to prevail on Secondus to withdraw his appeal had failed following his insistence on seeking justice over the way he was removed from office.
In the letter however, the lawyer, Oyetibo, confirmed that he was acting for the appellant, Secondus, whom he described as the national chairman of PDP, prior to the institution of Suit Number PHC/2183/CS/2021.
He recalled that on 23 August 2021 one Mr Ibeawuchi E. Alex and four others jointly instituted Suit No PHC/2183/CS/2021 at the High Court of Rivers State, Port-Harcourt Judicial Division against Secondus and the PDP as defendants.
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The lawyer added that on September 10, 2021, the High Court of Rivers State delivered its judgment in the Suit whereby Prince Uche Secondus was, inter alia, “restrained from performing the functions of the office of National Chairman of the PDP.”
He added that an appeal has been filed and entered against the judgment at the Court of Appeal, Port-Harcourt Judicial Division.
He however said an application notice has been filed by Secondus seeking “an order of injunction restraining the PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY, the 6th Respondent herein, whether by itself, its officers, servants, agents and or representatives from holding or conducting its National Convention scheduled for 30 and 31st October 2021 or any other date, pending the hearing and final determination of this appeal.
“Alternatively to 1 above, an order that the parties to this appeal, Particularly the Appellant/Applicant and the Respondent (Peoples Democratic Party) shall maintain the status quo ante as at 22 August 202 1, when Appellant/Applicant was occupying the office of National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, pending the hearing and final determination of this appeal.
“The application has since been served on you and other Respondents in the appeal.
“Notwithstanding the service of the Application for injunction, it has come to the Notice of our client that the PDP and its officers continue to prepare to hold the National Convention on 30 and 31 October 2021.”
Backing his legal position on the matter, the lawyer however cited the judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the case of governor of Lagos State vs Chief Emeke Odumegwu Ojukwu (1986) as well as the Court of Appeal judgement in the case of Chief Elias Okeke-Oba vs Ikwuka Okoye (1994).
He added, “The logical corollary of the foregoing pronouncements of the courts is that having been served with an application seeking to restrain the holding of its National Convention pending the determination of the appeal filed by Prince Uche Secondus, the PDP would be embarking upon a collision course with the court if it proceeds to hold the National Convention before the hearing and determination of the Application.
“Should such contumacious conduct of holding the National Convention before the hearing and determination of the Application be embarked upon by the party however, we shall not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law against all national officers of the party that are responsible for such conduct of contempt of court.
“Quite apart from the fact that such contumacious conduct would impinge on the integrity of the Party, we would on our part, swiftly take steps to invoke the jurisdiction of the court to nullify any decision, action or step taken at such Convention. We trust that you will wisely advise the Peoples’ Democratic Party and its officers in this regard,” the letter added.
Attempts to get reaction from the party proved abortive as PDP spokesman did not pick his calls.