There is palpable tension within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the Supreme Court will tomorrow hear the appeal filed by the sacked National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, asking the apex court to quash his removal from office, according to ThisDay report.
THISDAY also gathered that the apex court may also decide to rule on the matter tomorrow, or later within the week.
It was learnt that the fear that the decision of the Supreme Court may affect the recent National Convention of the party has led the main opposition party to hurriedly shift the date of the swearing-in of the Dr. Iyorchia Ayu-led National Working Committee (NWC) from Thursday, December 9 to Friday, December 10.
The National Chairman-designate of the party, Ayu, and other members of the NWC were elected at the October 30 and 31 National Convention of the party after Secondus was removed from office.
Secondus wants the Supreme Court to interpret the PDP constitution as it concerns the power of the party to sack a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC), particularly, the national chairman of the party.
The Supreme Court, it was gathered, will hear Secondus’ petitions on Monday, December 6.
Secondus had filed a notice of appeal before the Supreme Court asking it to declare that he is the only one who had the legal right to preside over the last national convention.
He is also seeking an order declaring that his suspension at the ward level was not enough reason for him to vacate the office of the national chairman of the party.
On August 23, 2021, some members of the party had instituted a suit marked: PHC/2183/CS/2021 at the High Court of Rivers State, Port Harcourt Judicial Division, with Secondus and the PDP as defendants.
The applicants had asked the court to stop Secondus from parading himself as the PDP chairman as he had been suspended at his ward.
The court subsequently restrained Secondus from performing the functions of the office of the national chairman of the PDP.
Secondus, however, filed an appeal before the Court of Appeal, demanding that his suspension be declared illegal and the party be prevented from holding its October 30 and 31 conventions unless he was allowed to preside over the exercise.
But his appeal was thrown out and the appellate court gave the PDP the green light to hold its convention.
At the national convention, a former Senate President, Ayu, emerged as the chairman-designate of the party, and his inauguration along with other members of the NWC was initially fixed for December 9, 2021.
However, Secondus is now praying for the Supreme Court to declare that the appellate court erred in its judgment.
According to the appeal filed by his lawyer, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), there are three grounds for appeal.
Secondus said Section 222(c) of the Nigerian Constitution requires every political party to have a constitution, which shall be registered with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
According to him, Article 35(1) (b) of the PDP’s Constitution confers on the national chairman of the party the right to preside over the national convention, but the appellate court gave the party the right to hold the convention without him.
The embattled chairman also argued that the fact that he was suspended at his ward did not translate to him being suspended as the chairman of the PDP.
His notice of appeal to the apex court read in part: “The Court of Appeal erred in law when it held that the appellant had no legal right or interest to protect by his application, which was filed on October 14, 2021, and re-filed on October 27, 2021.
“The Court of Appeal erred in law and violated the appellant’s right to a fair hearing when it held that the appellant, having been suspended as a member of the 6th respondent (the PDP), could not continue to function as the national chairman.
“The Court of Appeal erred in law in dismissing the appellant’s application, which was filed on October 14, 2021, and re-filed on October 27, 2021.”
Secondus subsequently sought four reliefs, including an order allowing the appeal, an order setting aside the decision of the appellate court, and order confirming that Article 35(I) (b) of the PDP Constitution confers on him the personal right to preside over the convention of the party.
It is feared that if the Supreme Court grants Secondus’ prayers, the election of Ayu and other members of the NWC, as well as all other actions taken by the party in his absence will become null and void.
This fear may have informed the decision of the main opposition party to hurriedly shift the date of the swearing-in of Ayu and other members of the NWC from December 9 to December 10.
According to a statement by the Governor of Adamawa State, Hon. Ahmad Fintiri, who was the Chairman, National Convention Organising Committee (NCOC), “the swearing-in of the newly elected National Officers of our great
party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), earlier scheduled for Thursday, December 9, 2021, has been rescheduled for Friday, December 10, 2021, at 9:30 a.m.
“All party leaders, stakeholders, and members nationwide are advised to note this accordingly, please.
Fintiri’s statement was titled: ‘Change of Date for the Presentation of Certificate of Return and Swearing-in Ceremony of the Newly Elected PDP National Officers.’