There is an indication that the camp of the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde in the South-West chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are divided over who succeeds Prince Uche Secondus, the party National Chairman, whose term is coming to an end, who some powerful people in the party have perfected plans to remove.
Recall that there were two groups in the South West of the party; Governor Seyi Makinde camp and former Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose’s camp.
The Makinde camp moves not to give Secondus a second term but the Fayose camp still preferred Secondus for the second term.
During the last zonal congress, the camp of Governor Makinde defeated the Fayose camp by only six votes; which Taofeek Arapaja clinched the zonal chairman of the party.
Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, the candidate backed by Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, got 343 votes to emerge the new South-West Zonal Vice Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, beating Fayose’s candidate – Dr Eddy Olafeso, who scored 337.
Four months after the zonal congress, the camp of governor Makinde is divided over the slot of the national chairman of the party.
The race to replace Secondus has gained temple with the expected entrance of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Mr Eyitayo Jegede and Chief Olabode George into the race under the camp Governor Seyi Makinde.
The PDP Deputy National Chairman Chief Bode George on Monday joined the chairmanship race.
A source said Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, who is the lone Southwest PDP governor and zonal leader, may draft former Ondo State governorship candidate, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) to the contest.
The source said the move to tip Jegede for the job may have pitched the governor against Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former national secretary.
Oyinlola, former Osun State governor, who is an ally of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, was said to have indicated an interest in the position.
Jegede’s profile rose, following the recent Supreme Court judgment on the Ondo State governorship litigation. Although the judgment affirmed the victory of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, the minority judgement has continued to constitute a big hurdle for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
According to the source, ”The governor of Oyo is looking at the direction of Jegede and not Prince Oyinlola. He believes that Oyinlola, who is over 70, should be playing the role of a party elder. Besides, he does not want to sponsor a former governor and a big man he may not be able to control.”
He added:” Indeed, as expected, Oyinlola is not happy because, naturally, he expects the Oyo governor to support him because he supported him for governor.”
Party insiders confided that George, the Lagos PDP leader, has decided to throw his hat in the ring, with the hope that the residual class of the founding fathers who were called upon to resolve the leadership crisis, will convince the family to endorse his candidature.
For 10 years, the retired Commodore and former military governor of old Ondo State, was at the party secretariat, where he served as national vice chairman (West), and later, Deputy national chairman. Five years ago, he had also joined the race before he withdrew.
Politics Updates: Court suspends Uche Secondus as PDP national chairman
Meanwhile, the PDP crisis has taken a new twist with Monday’s suspension of National Chairman Uche Secondus by a court.
Earlier this month, elders of the main opposition party halted the simmering crisis from snowballing into an implosion by bringing the party’s national convention forward to October from the December date.
The decision gave Secondus, who was under pressure to quit, a respite.
But Monday’s court order by a Rivers High Court may have thrown the reconciliation moves into jeopardy.
The Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt 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 O. 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.
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The court ordered that Secondus would remain suspended pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
Justice Gbasah also made an order granting leave to serve by substituted means the originating summons, motion on notice and all subsequent processes on Secondus by pasting same on the gate of his residence at No 1 William Jumbo Street, Old GRA, Port Harcourt.
The court ordered the PDP to be served 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 the 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”.