Concerns over the conduct of the October 30 national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) heightened yesterday as former national chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, filed a court injunction halting the exercise.
Secondus who stated this in a letter to the PDP leadership through his lawyer, Tayo Oyetibo, advised the party not to conduct the convention before the hearing and determination of an application of injunction in court, adding that it would set the party on a collision course with the court if it does so.
He added that he would 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 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 organising secretary; PDP national legal adviser; PDP national secretary.
Secondus had gone to appeal 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 moves 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, 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, PortHarcourt Judicial Division against Secondus and the PDP as defendants.
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, PortHarcourt 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 calls placed to the national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, was not responded to as of the time of filing this report.