Tension in PDP over ‘uncertain convention’ as Appeal Court to rule Tuesday

There is tension in the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the possibility of holding the party’s National election Convention.

The party’s National Convention will hold on Saturday, October 31 in the Nation’s capital, Abuja.

The fear over the Court of Appeal case involving suspended National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, who has refused all entreaties to withdraw it and the new case at the Kaduna High Court, has sent PDP governors into panic mode.

The inability of the various organs of the party to broker a truce between the suspended National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus and the Rivers State governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, is casting doubt over the possibility of holding the national election convention of the party.

The anxiety is further compounded by the letter dated October 22, 2021, by Secondus lawyer, Mr Tayo Oyetiba (SAN), asking the party to suspend the national convention, pending the determination of the suit at the Court of Appeal.

Newsflash Nigeria gathered that when the case comes up on Tuesday, Oyetibo is expected to ask the court for an interlocutory injunction to stop the party from going ahead of the national convention.

Oyetibo would premise his request on the fact when a case is in court, parties are not supposed to take further action so as not to tie the hands of the court.

The embattled national chairman had approached the Port Harcourt Division of the Appeal Court, asking it to quash two High Court orders restraining him from parading himself as the chairman of the party.

Secondus had also urged the appellate court to declare that his tenure ends in December 2021.

But Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, who is the Secretary of the Convention Planning Committee, said the date for the convention stands.

The governors have assembled a legal team for advice on how to tackle Secondus at the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt.

It was also learnt that the party may file a counter-application before the appellate court on why it should not restrain PDP from holding its convention.

Delegates to the convention were confused last night on whether to proceed to Abuja, the convention venue.

Also, all was not well within the PDP National Convention Committee. Most members have complained of being sidelined.

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They alleged that only Governors Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa State), Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Douye Diri (occasionally), are running the show.

The tension made PDP governors and some leaders begin marathon consultations with some senior lawyers.

The consultations, which were still ongoing last night, border on the following issues:

  • Can the Court of Appeal abort a process already on course when it is not the final court on issues before it?

  • How to prevail on the Court of Appeal to reject the application of Secondus

  • Exploring the alternative of going to the Supreme Court before the convention date

  • What should the party do if there is any court order?

A top source said: “The PDP governors have been consulting with some top lawyers on how to tackle Secondus at the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt when the case comes up on Tuesday.

“The consultations have been on in the last eight to nine hours on the way forward for the party. They were caught unawares

“Top on the agenda is to convince the appellate court to reject Secondus, application to stop the convention from holding because he has nothing to lose. His tenure has technically ended. There is no way the convention can affect him.

“In fairness, the party is not against him in court; only a member of the party sued him. This means that generally, the party has no axe to grind with him. It is illogical for PDP to suffer for what it is not a party to.

“ As a party, we have spent so much to prepare for this convention. Stopping the exercise will lead to a huge loss in terms of amounts on logistics.

“More importantly, the Court of Appeal is not the final court on this matter before it. We feel the appellate court should not issue an order in favour of any party before it. The matter borders on the internal affairs of the party which should not be the business of the court.”

Delegates to the National Convention were confused on whether or not it will hold.

A state chairman from the North said:” The situation is so dicey that we don’t know whether to proceed to Abuja or not.

“ We don’t know if the convention will hold. “

There was a crack in the National Convention Committee as some members claimed that they were in the dark on its activities.

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They also alleged that some members of the committee have been biased.

A member said: “ We have not been carried along in the activities of the National Convention Committee. Only our chairman, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri, and two other governors, Seyi Makinde and Douye Diri take decisions and brief us.

“Sometimes, for strategic reasons, Governor Diri was not allowed to be privy to sone decisions.

“We are getting along because the survival of PDP is more important than individual interest.”

Responding to a question, the source alleged that some members of the convention committee have become partisan.

“Nearly all the governors in the committee have been trying to fix their loyalists and associates in the National Working Committee. They hide under the consensus option to pursue selfish interests in their bid to hijack the party.

“ It is an open secret that Governor Nyesom Wike determines the direction of the party as part of his calculations for the 2023 presidential election. Port Harcourt has become a political sanctuary such that even presidential aspirants now lobby him.

“The case of Makinde is peculiar. Beyond the convention committee, he is being accused of trying to be a kingmaker in the South-West by imposing would-be members of the National Working Committee.

“After micro-zoning the Office of the Deputy National Chairman to Osun State in the South-West, Makinde used his influence to take the slot to Oyo State to elevate his man, Taofeek Arapaja from the National Vice Chairman( South-West) to Deputy National Chairman (South).

“Initially, he had assured ex-Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of the position, but as a kingmaker, he changed it overnight.

“As I talk to you, ex-Governor Ayo Fayose’s group has technically lost out in the micro-zoning of offices in the South-West. Fayose has been caged by Makinde despite the intervention of Wike.

“This open bias by convention committee members was shocking. This is not what PDP founding fathers envisioned. It is frustrating to be a member of this committee.”

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Emmanuel Amuda

Emmanuel Amuda, a blogger by profession for the past 7 years. He studied Mathematics at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka Contact: +2348053316946 Twitter: @Lackren

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