TENSION! All eyes on Appeal Court as Secondus battles PDP over party’s convention
The atmosphere around stakeholders of Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is a tensed one as they await the ruling of the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt to determine wether or not they would hold their national convention.
The PDP and its embattled suspended National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus are billed to know their fate today, Friday, as the Court of Appeal is set to deliver judgement in the case.
Secondus had approached the court to stop the planned convention slated for Saturday and Sunday, October 30 and 31, 2021 and an order of the court granting him the right to oversee the convention as the party’s National Chairman.
It would be recalled that Secondus had been suspended by the order of a High Court, barring him from parading himself as the PDP chairman or participate in the activities of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.
Even as the judgment is being expected, bout 3,600 delegates to the national convention have started arriving in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
The appellate Court had on Thursday, reserved ruling on the appeal filed by Secondus seeking the suspension of the national convention.
At the resumed sitting of the court on Thursday to entertain and rule on the legal submissions of all parties, counsel to Secondus, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) told the court that in adherence to its directives, he had amended the processes earlier served on all respondents and added the names of all the parties.
Oyetibo told the court that all the 11 respondents had been served the amended processes, adding that one of his motions was filed afresh on October 27 and was ready to be taken.
He also noted that Article 35(1B) of the PDP Constitution, made pursuant to Section 222(C) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, used the word “shall” and vested in the national chairman the right and not a privilege to preside over the national convention.
Read also: PDP: Why I’m in court – Secondus
Oyetibo further told the court that the intention of his application was not to prohibit the national convention, but to suspend it pending the determination of issues of leadership of the party, stressing that what the court was not to stop were primaries of political parties and general elections.
Counsel to the 1st to 5th respondents, Henry Bello, however opposed the application with a 24-paragraph affidavit sworn to by the 1st respondent and urging the court to dismiss the application with cost.
Bello also argued that the application sought the determination of the main appeal, which was the leadership of the party, without a hearing, noting that such prayers were not attainable. He added that the five grounds of the appellant’s amended notice of appeal had no iota of allusion to the national convention of the PDP (6th respondent), insisting that the application was a radical departure and alien to the main appeal.
The three-man appeal panel of the court, led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, after listening to arguments by all the counsels, reserved ruling on the appeal for today (Friday) by noon.
“We are reserving ruling on this matter for Friday by 12 noon. Nobody has said anything about setting aside the application,” Justice Tsammani said.
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