PDP Crisis: Secondus Hands over to Deputy, Akinwonmi
In a move described as a master stroke by stakeholders, the deputy national chairman of the PDP (South), Elder Yemi Akinwonmi, has assumed the leadership of the National Working Committee (NWC) following the hand over of office to him by the embattled National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.
With his assumption of the leadership of the party, Secondus commenced moves to vacate the order by Justice O. Gbasah of the Rivers state High Court, which restrained him from parading himself as the national chairman.
The court order had thrown the reconciliation moves commenced by the expanded Board of Trustees (BoT) into jeopardy Monday when it granted a restraining order against Secondus.
The Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt had granted an order of interim injunction stopping Secondus from parading himself as the PDP national chairman.
The order was made following a suit filed against Secondus and the PDP by some members of the party identified as Ibeawuchi Ernest Alex, Dennis Nna Amadi, Emmanuel Stephen and Umezirike Onucha.
Justice Gbasah ordered Secondus to stop parading himself as a member of the PDP (the second defendant).
Justice Gbasah further restrained Secondus from attending or presiding over any meeting of the PDP or any committee of the party at ward, local government or state government levels.
The court also barred Secondus from calling for any ward, local government or state congress or setting up committees for such congresses or participating in any activity of the PDP whatsoever while on suspension as a member of PDP.
Before the court order, the NWC had scheduled a meeting to discuss the new date for the National Executive Committee (NEC).
But the meeting was not to be as Secondus immediately handed over to his deputy, Elder Akinwonmi who immediately adjourned the meeting of the NWC till further notice.
He said in statement he signed that “Section 45 (2)of the constitution of the People’s Democratic Party empowers me to summon and preside over party meetings in the absence of the national chairman. “
He further said, “Our attention was drawn yesterday evening to a court order which purports to restrain our National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus from summoning and presiding over the meetings of the organs of the party.
“In the foregoing circumstances, as Deputy National Chairman (South) of the People’s Democratic Party, after the consultations and in exercise of the aforesaid powers, hereby deem it fit and prosper to postpone the National Working Committee meeting earlier scheduled for today until further notice to allow for broader consultations in the overall interest of our party.”
The party’s Constitution says that in the absence of the National Chairman, the Deputy National Chairman South takes over the running of the party.
Elder Akinwomi has been recuperating from a protracted illness and had to sign his public announcement with a thumb print publicly videoed.
The deputy national chairman of the party, North, Suleiman Nazif, had before now held series of meetings in Abuja to oust Secondus from office
He is seen as the key person working for anti Secondus elements within the NWC
The National Legal Adviser, Emmanuel Enoidem later disclaimed the meeting stating that it is only a national convention that can remove the National Working Committee (NWC) or any national officer.
Enoidem issued a rejoinder to the communique issued by some NWC members after the meeting in Abuja.
Six out of the nine NWC members voted for the sack of the embattled PDP National Chairman.
At the meeting were Deputy National Chairman (North), Suleiman Nazif; National Secretary, Umar Tsauri; National Auditor, Adamu Mustapha; National Financial Secretary, Abdulahi Maibasira.
Others were Youth Leader, S. K. Udeh-Okoye; Vice Chairman (SW), Taofiq Arapaja; Vice Chairman (SE), Ali Odefa; Vice Chairman (SS), Dan Orbih, and Vice chairman (NC), Chief Theophilus Dakas.
“The matter of his resignation was put to vote, six members voted that he should resign and three members abstained from voting”, the communique read.
Six NWC members who voted against Secondus were Nazif, Mustapher, Udeh- Okoye, Arapaja, Orbih and Odefa.
But Enoidem said by Section 29 (3) and Subsection (4) of the PDP constitution, only the national chairman or a summon by two-third of NWC members can convene a meeting.
He noted that the action of the officials was “in utter disdain and violation of clear extant provisions of our constitution”.
Enoidem said the issue of resignation of any officer at any level is a personal decision as stipulated in Sections 45(1) & 47(5).
“There is no provision in our constitution which donates powers to any individuals to ask an officer of the party to resign for any reason whatsoever, as was purported in the so called press release.
“The powers to remove any member of the NWC and indeed any national officer is reserved in the national convention which is due for December 2021″, he stressed.
Meanwhile, Secondus has commenced moves to vacate the court order against the leadership of the party.
Some stakeholders wanted him to approach another high court in Abuja or elsewhere, but, he insisted that he will follow due processes of law to vacate the court order.
THISDAY gathered that he chose to follow due process and as at press time, his lawyer, Emeka Etiaba had moved to Port Harcourt to file court papers.