Prince Uche Secondus, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has vowed not to resign from office.
Mr Secondus, in a statement by his media aide, Ike Abonyi, on Monday, said he had not committed any offence to warrant his resignation.
He said those demanding his exit should tell party members across the country what his offence was.
The terse statement said, “The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Prince Uche Secondus has said that he will not resign his position.
“Prince Secondus said in a short statement from his media office that nothing so far warrants his resignation from the party position and those tiny minority calling for his resignation should come clean and tell party members across the country his offence why he should resign.
“He said he will remain focused and committed to the ideals of the party which he swore to protect and defend upon his election to lead this great party 44 months ago.”
The chairman’s statement came a few hours after the PDP caucus in the House of Representatives demanded his resignation.
The caucus, which met last Saturday, in a communique, said the party would be in grave danger if Mr Secondus was allowed to continue in office in the next three months.
The lawmakers asked the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the party and the PDP Governors Forum to commence the re-engineering of the party.
The tenure of Mr Secondus and other members of the National Working Committee (NWC) will expire in December having been elected for a four-year mandate in December 2018.
Some members of Nigeria’s main opposition party have expressed dissatisfaction with the leadership of the national chairman.
They claimed that the party’s misfortune has nosedived since Mr Secondus took over.
Meanwhile, the party’s National Legal Adviser, Emmanuel Enoidem, said there is no provision of the party constitution which donates powers to any organ, individuals or group of persons to ask an officer of the party to resign for any reason whatsoever as was purported in the so called press release.
He said only the national chairman or a summon backed by 2/3 members of the NWC that can validly convene a meeting of the party NWC.
He said “Distinguished members of NWC good morning.
“I just saw the above somewhere and as a committed member of this party and by the special grace of God a member of NWC I have the following points to make:
“By Section 29 (3) of the constitution of our party it is the national chairman or a summon backed by 2/3 members of the NWC that can validly convene a meeting of the NWC.
“Subsection (4) provides for 2/3 members of NWC to form a quorum for a meeting of the NWC.
“As a bona fide member of the NWC, to the best of my knowledge am not aware of any meeting of NWC summoned by the National chairman or in the manner provided aforesaid.
“It is therefore of grave concern, and indeed, very sad to read the above position purportedly taken by some distinguished members of NWC in utter disdain and violation of clear extant provisions of our constitution.
“The issue of resignation of any officer of our party at any level is a personal decision as stipulated in Sections 45(1) & 47 (5). There is no provision of our constitution which donates powers to any organ, individuals or group of persons 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 are reserved in the national convention which is due for December 2021.
“The said press release is an unfortunate assault and blatant violation of the provisions of our constitution and so it is illegal and unconstitutional.
“This is more so when the purported meeting was said to have been convened on Sunday August 8, 2021 against the widely published position taken by the BOT advising members and leaders of our party to maintain peace until a committee set up has deliberated on the raging controversies.
“This bad press caused the party at this critical time is most uncalled for, needless and wanton and must be discontinued if we are mindful of the interest of the party.
Gale of Defections
The members repeatedly cited the many defections that have hit the party, including those of three of its governors and members of the National Assembly.
Governors David Umahi of Ebonyi State, Ben Ayade of Cross River and Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State, defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last 10 months.
Similarly, some members of the PDP in the National Assembly also dumped the party for the APC.
A member of the BOT, Joy Emordi, a former senator, also resigned her membership of the party.
The crisis assumed a new dimension last week with the resignation of seven members of the NWC from their positions last week.
Those who resigned were the Deputy National Financial Secretary, Gerald Irona; Deputy National Organising Secretary, Hassan Yakubu; Deputy National Legal Adviser, Ahmed Liman, and Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Diran Odeyemi.
Others were the Deputy National Woman Leader, Hadizat Umoru; Deputy National Auditor, Divine Arong, and another official who could not be immediately identified.
They alleged that they were being sidelined by the national chairman.
Last Thursday, members of the PDP BoT met in Abuja and resolved to constitute a committee to look into the leadership crisis rocking the party.
Party waking on familiar turf
Since its formation in 1998, the PDP has had nine substantive national chairmen and three acting national chairmen.
They are Solomon Lar, Barnabas Gemade, Audu Ogbeh, Ahmadu Ali, Vincent Ogbulafor and Okwelieze Nwodo.
The others are Bamangar Tukur, Adamu Mu’’azu, Ali Modu Sheriff and Mr Secondus.
Bello Mohammed, Kawu Baraje and Secondus at one time or the other acted as national chairman.
Former Vice President Alex Ekwueme was National Chairman for three months when the party was formed in 1998 before he stepped down to pursue his presidential ambition but lost to former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Of the nine substantive chairmen, only Mr Ali left office without rancour. Others were forced out.