The Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has dashed the attempts by the embattled former national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus, to stop the national convention scheduled for today (Saturday) and tomorrow.
This was the outcome of yesterday’s ruling delivered by Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Appeal Court.
Justice Kolowale, who was part of the three-man appeal panel that handled Secondus’ matter against the PDP, said the party constitutionally empowered the acting National Chairman to convene and preside over the national convention, and not Secondus, who had earlier been suspended by PDP and restrained from participating in any of the activities of the party.
He said: “It is important to state that, whether the prayer was for injunction pending on appeal, or for substitution of the order of injunction pending appeal, and important factor and primary consideration, it is what is legal right, which the order is meant to protect.
“The appellant said it was meant to preserve his personal rights to preside as the national chairman of the sixth respondent (PDP) national convention scheduled to hold from 30th to 31st of October, 2021.”
The Court queried: “The question to ask is what makes the rights personal because the office the sixth respondent national chairmanship is a public office and not of governmental nature.
“The so-called personal rights to preside at the sixth respondent national convention is, in my view, a power confered by the sixth respondent constitution. And it becomes a personal as to title of the occupier of the office, either by election or appointment and it depends on who the constitution has decided.
“In my view, by this analysis, I cannot see any legal right or interest which the suspension of the order of injunction granted by the lower court will protect by this application.”
The court affirmed that the suspension of the appellant at the ward level which was also upheld at the local and state levels made it impossible for Secondus to function as National Chairman of PDP.
The court continued: “The appellant having been suspended as a member of the sixth respondent, can no longer partake in the affairs of the sixth respondent in any capacity. So, the injunction orders made by the lower court were intended to protect the confirmation of the suspension of the appellant.”
Speaking to journalists outside the courtroom immediately after the ruling, counsel for Secondus, Tayo Oyetibo (a Senior Advocate of Nigeria), said they would return to continue with the substantive appeal.
“So the court has directed that the PDP can continue with the national convention. However, the instruction is that the appeal continues and depending on the outcome of the appeal, if it succeeds, then, it has the impact on whatever decision that is taken on the national convention. So, it’s still not over.”
Also, speaking to journalists on behalf of first to eleventh respondents counsels, counsel representing the Ist to 5th respondent, Henry Bello, described the ruling as well deserved, which he said, has given the PDP go ahead order to conduct the national convention.
Credit: Daily Sun