Secondus Vs PDP: Court defers judgement on convention until Friday

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Uche Secondus

The Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt has again reserved to give its ruling on the application filed by the suspended National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, seeking the suspension of the National Convention of the party scheduled for Saturday.

The three-man appeal panel led by Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani took this position after counsels for all the parties adopted their written addresses and adumbrated their positions.

Secondus in the motion, CP/PH/339/2021, is praying the court to give an Interim Order of Injunction suspending Saturday’s national convention of the party pending the determination of the suit challenging his removal as the National Chairman of the party.

The court on Tuesday had adjourned to give its decision on the matter, Thursday, but had after the much legal submissions adjourned till Friday, for ruling on the motion.

When the court resumed hearing Thursday, Counsel for the Appellant Applicant, Tayo Oyetibo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, notified the court that he amended the processes earlier served on parties to include the names of all the parties, following the order of the court.

He mentioned to the court that all the eleven respondents have been served the amended processes, adding that the motion that was not taken was refiled on the 27th of October and was ready to be taken.

Oyetibo urged the court to have regard on the jurisdiction of the court to be able to give efficient and efficacious judgement in the main Appeal and also urged it have regards to the rights of the Applicant.

He noted that Article 35, 1B, of the Constitution of PDP, made pursuant to Section 222(C) of the 1999 Constitution, used the word Shall and vested in the Nation Chairman the right to preside over the National Convention, adding that such is not a privilege.

He presented that the attention of the application is not to prohibit the national convention, but to suspend it pending when the court would determine the issues of the leadership of the party, adding that what court is not to stop is primaries of political parties or general elections.

Meanwhile, counsel for the first to fifth respondents, Henry Bello, opposed the application with 24 paragraphs affidavit sworn to by the 1st respondent, urging the court to dismiss the application with cost.

Bello argued that the application seeks the determination of the main Appeal (leadership of the party) without a hearing, adding that the prayers are not attainable.

He said the five ground of the amended notice of appeal has no iota of allusion to the national convention of the 6th respondent, noting that application is a radical departure and alien to the main appeal.

Also, S.I Ameh, counsel for the sixth respondent (the PDP), prayed the court to dismiss the application, saying that the balance of convenience is on the court not to grant the application because it falls within the set time for the convention as set by the INEC.

Similarly, Godwin Obla, SAN, Counsel for the 8th Respondent in a 21 paragraph affidavit, sworn to by Joy Okonkwo, urged the court not to find merit in the application, but to only dismiss it.

In the same manner, Donald Dee-Wigwe, SAN, who stood in for the 9th and 10th respondents, told the court that the office of a national chairman is a political privilege and that the decision of the High Court that sacked Secondus terminated that privilege.

He noted that being a political privilege that it cannot attract a Judicial response, urging the court to dismiss the application.

However, the lead, Justice Tsammani, after all the presentations said the court has reserved to give the decision of the matter Friday, 12 pm.

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