PDP’s October convention under threat over litigation
The end may not yet be in sight for the crisis bedevilling the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as feuding members of the party have so far refused to withdraw pending litigation from Court, hence putting the elective convention scheduled for October under threat.
Although the party’s National Caucus, the Board of Trustees, Governors and the second highest decision-making body of the party, the National Executive Committee, meet last week and ratified the appointment of the Deputy National Chairman (South), Yemi Akinwonmi, as acting National Chairman, the National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, insists he remains in office.
A highly placed member of the party’s NEC who confided in our Correspondent, in Abuja, explained that party leaders were “well aware” of the landmines the pending litigation represent, the Punch reported.
The source said, “We cannot pretend, we have a problem on our hands. There is no doubt some of our members want Secondus out, they have their reasons. There are also those who want him to remain and at least complete his tenure in December, they also have their reasons.
“But as a party in opposition, we cannot afford to make mistakes that the ruling party can take advantage of to destroy us. Getting Secondus out at this point is like taking a bull out of a China shop.
“He will not go down without a fight. As we speak, there are three court orders, two restraining him, one asking him to resume immediately.
“From our various meetings at caucus and the NEC, it is clear we have moved on. What we have done is to protect the party.”
Another source said, “The PDP is an institution, it is bigger than all of us who are members. We must be prepared to make sacrifices in the interest of our party.
“Under Secondus we’ve lost three of our Governors to the ruling All Progressives Congress, several serving and former legislators as well as members of the BoT, must everybody leave the party before he knows it is time to call it time?”
It was equally gathered that supporters of the national chairman, have approached the High Courts in Port Harcourt and Cross Rivers to vacate the restraining orders issued against Secondus.
A source privy to the development said, “We are in court to have these orders vacated. We expect the PDP as a party to respect its own constitution. Secondus was elected for a four-year tenure, we must be conscious of this fact in handling this issue.”
When contacted, National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said “Our peace building efforts are on course, all outstanding issues will be resolved. NEC has set up an eight-member committee made up of senior party leaders under the chairmanship of Senator David Mark to look at the issues.”
Secodus had in a statement from his media office on Saturday insisted on serving out his four-year term.
He noted that the mandate given to him at the party’s National Convention in Abuja on December 9, 2017 remains intact until December, 2021.
He made the clarifications following his absence at the party’s 92nd National Executive Committee meeting held at its national secretariat in Abuja on Saturday amid speculations that he had been removed from office.
The statement titled, ‘Secondus has not stepped down, just obeying Calabar court interim order,’ which was signed by his Special Adviser (Media), Mr Ike Abonyi.
It read in part, “The media office of Prince Uche Secondus wishes to correct erroneous news circulating that he has stepped down as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party.
“Secondus, by his unavoidable absence at the party’s National Executive Committee meeting on Saturday, was merely obeying an interim order from Cross River State High Court.”