A Rivers High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, has granted an order of interim injunction, restraining Prince Uche Secondus from parading himself as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), or even as a menber of the party.
The injuction was granted on Monday, August 23, 2021, by Hon. Justice O. Gbasam of the Degema Judicial Division Vacation Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, following a suit filed against Secondus and the PDP, by some members of the party identified as by Ibeawuchi Ernest Alex, Dennis Nna Amadi, Emmanuel Stephen and Umezirike Onucha against Uche Secondus (1st defendant) and the PDP (2nd defendant).
The judge, after reading the affidavit in support of the motion ex parte, as well as hearing the submission of H.A. Bello, Counsel to the Applicants, granted the interim injunction barring Secondus from participating in PDP party activities and to stop parading himself as a member of the PDP (the second defendant).
The Court 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 and equally barred him 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.
Justice Gbasam ordered that Secondus would remain suspended pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice and also made an order granting leave to serve by substituted means.
The judge said: “That an order be made and is hereby made granting leave for the commencement of this suit during the 2021 annual vacation of the High Court of Rivers State.
“That an order of interim injunction is granted restraining the first defendant (Secondus) from parading himself as a member of the second defendant (PDP) or National Chairman of the defendant or performing the functions of national chairman of the second defendant.
“or calling, attending or presiding over any meeting of the second defendant or any committee of the second defendant at ward, local government or state level
“or calling for any ward, local government or state Congress of the second defendant or setting up committees for such congresses or participating in any activity of the second defendant whatsoever whilst on suspension as a member of the second defendant pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction”
The judge further granted leave to serve, by substituted means, the originating summons, motion on notice and all subsequent processes on Secondus and all orders made by the court on the respondent, by pasting same on the gate of his residence at No 1 William Jumbo Street, Old GRA, Port Harcourt and by publication in the Nation newspaper.
SECONDUS, PDP NOT AFRAID OF COURT
Meanwhile, in a swift response to the Court ruling against Prince Uche Secondus, the Media office of the PDP National Chairman has issued a statement declaring that: PDP and Secondus are not afraid of court and will defend themselves.
The statement by Ike Abonyi, S.A Media to the PDP National Chairman reads thus:
“Media office of the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has been inundated with calls from media houses on a press statement sent to newsrooms by one Kelvin Ebiri, Special Assisatant Media to the Rivers state Governor, Bar Nysom Wike announcing that “Court Restrains Secondus from Parading as National Chairman, Member of PDP”.
“Our reaction- “If Secondus and the party are taken to court they will defend themselves.
“PDP and Secondus are not afraid of court, this party is a child of history, owned by Nigerians, bigger than any individual or group including desperadoes.
PDP ANDONI SUSPENDS SECONDUS?
However, a latest development to the unfolding story, contained in a recent report which has gone viral on social media, claims that Prince Uche Secondus has also been suspended from his ward, in Andoni LGA, where he hails from.
The suspension, according to reports sourced from Andoni Social media posts, was ratified by Andoni LGA chapter of PDP, where Secondus comes from. Thereafter, the suspension was ratified by the Rivers State Executive Committee of PDP, the reports stated.
These latest onslaughts against the ersthwile PDP National Chairman, may not be unconnected with claims by impeccable multiple sources within the party as well as widely reported comments credited to the embattled Chairman, that Prince Secondus has been insisting on completing his tenure of four years, saying he would vacate office only if the party’s constitution is amended.
It would be recalled that Uche Secondus was elected in December 2017, at the national convention of the PDP held at the Eagle Square in Abuja, along with other NWC members and his tenure of four years is supposed to end in December 2021.
However, his reign has recently come under very viscious, arcebic and acrimonious criticisms from prominent voices in the party, including those of S.K.E. Udeh-Okoye the National Youth Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Governor Nyesom Wike, who is the acclaimed godfather of the Chairman and elder Bode George, whose last minute letter to the enlarged leadership meeting of the party, literally took Secondus to the cleaners.
The series of expanded stakeholders emergency meeting of the party, convened within the first and second weeks of August, in the wake of calls for Secondus to resign by several key blocks of the party, including the House of Representatives minority caucus, as well as the forced resignations of some key members of the National Working Committee, NWC, however resolved, that Secondus’ tenure should elapse in October, as a damage limitation and control initiative to stem the raging crisis in the party.
The PDP Governors Forum had earlier met at the Akwa Ibom state lodge, in Abuja and final meeting which comprised state governors, Board of Trustees (BoT) members, former ministers, former governors and National Assembly Caucus in attendance, directed Secondus, in what Governor Tambuwal, Chairman, PDP Governors Forum declared as a consensus agreement of all parties, including the embattled National Chairman, to summon the National Executive Committee (NEC), which is the second highest decision-making organ of the party, to ratify processes leading to the party’s convention in October and equally activate organs of the party to address and resolve the issue of zoning ahead of the 2023 general Elections.
However, Secondus appears to have rejected the October deadline given him to leave office and was reported to have met with the BoT to inform them categorically that he intended to serve out his constitutional term, in line with the provisions of the party’s constitution, which elapses in December, or at least canvass for a November terminal date instead of the initially suggested October date, which he had seemingly agreed to.
It was reported that Secondus, after due consultations with some critical stakeholders and consultations with his advisers, had held up Section 47 (1) of the PDP’s constitution, which states: “All National, zonal, state, local government area and ward officers of the party shall hold office for a term of four years and shall be eligible for re-election for another term and no more.
He also reportedly latched on to Section 47 (2), which says: “The election of national officers shall be at the national convention, while that of those at the lower levels shall be at the respective congresses.”
Reliable sources within Wadata plaza, the PDP National Secretariat, claim that Secondus is insisting that his tenure is going to expire in December, 2021, so he sees no reasons why he should step down, unless there’s a constitutional review and he will renege on the October date for the next convention, if they don’t amend the party’s constitution.
Buoyed by this constitutional lifeline, Price Secondus may also have been further emboldened by recent visitations to key statesmen and party chieftains, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, to give his case broader credibility, ahead of a proposed meeting scheduled with the NWC and the deputies within the week, where a decision is expected to be taken to fix a date for the NEC meeting.
It seems however that the new found momentum in the camp of Prince Uche Secondus may have been cut short and the wind taken out of his sails, first by the report that he has been suspended by the Andoni PDP in his own Ward and the suspension has been ratified by the both the PDP in Andoni LGA and the Rivers State Executive Committee of PDP.
This of course, may have informed the ruling of the Court to restrain him from parading himself not only as the National Chairman of the PDP, but even as a member of the party while he’s still under suspension and until the hearing and determination of the motion on notice or a stay of execution of the interim injunction from another court of similar jurisdiction, pending when the order restraining him will be vacated.