Appeal Court To Decide PDP Convention Tomorrow

Appeal Court To Decide PDP Convention Tomorrow

On Friday, the Appeal Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Southern Nigeria, will rule on whether the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Convention may take place this weekend.

After hearing arguments in the plea submitted by the former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Uche Secondus, to suspend the conduct of the convention, a panel of three justices led by Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani reserved the judgement on Thursday.

The PDP’s National Working Committee scheduled the convention on October 30 and 31 in Abuja as part of its efforts to address the party’s internal turmoil.

This decision did not go down well with Secondus, hence the filing of the application.

During Thursday’s proceedings, counsel to Secondus, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), argued that refusing to grant his application to stop the PDP Convention can be likened to “pulling off the rug under the feet of the appellant”.

He said his client will be permanently denied the right to preside over or participate in the convention if the pending applications bordering on his leadership and membership status go in his favour.

But the submission was opposed by the counsel to the first to fifth respondents, Henry Bello, who are the Chairmen of the Peoples Democratic Party in five Local Government Areas of Rivers State.

The Chairmen are challenging Secondus’s legal right to resume as National Chairman of the PDP following his suspension from the party in his ward in Ikuru Town in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State.

Bello reading an except of his 24-paragraph affidavit sworn to by the First respondent (one of the LGA party Chairmen), submitted that the application to stop the PDP convention by Uche Secondus, was alien to the existing appeals before the court bordering on the leadership and membership of Uche Secondus in the party.

The opposition by Henry Bello was supported by the lawyer to the PDP, Sunday Ameh (SAN).

Ameh submitted that Secondus voluntarily handed over the authorities of his office to a subordinate who has been acting lawfully as the National Chairman and is bestowed with the right to preside over the National Convention.

Ameh said, “the balance of convenience in the matter is in not granting the application” to stop the convention.

Also, counsel representing the ninth and 10th respondents, Donald Dee-Nwigwe (SAN), picked holes in the argument by Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) that the conduct of the National Convention by the PDP will be a denial of Uche Secondus right to preside over the convention.

Oyetibo said, “a Chairmanship position of the PDP is at best a political privilege, not a right” and that the September judgment of a High Court in Rivers State which validated the suspension of Uche Secondus from the party has nullified any such privilege which Uche Secondus seeks to protect through his application.

Other counsels, including Godwin Obla (SAN), Sebastine Horns, who represented other respondents like the National Vice Chairman, South-South of the PDP, Dan Obih, also opposed the application to stop the PDP convention.

The counsel to Secondus, Tayo Oyetibo while further defending his application argued that the use of the word “Shall” in the PDP convention bestowed on Uche Secondus, the right, not privilege to preside over party conversations.

He also submitted that the application before the court is not to “prohibit the convention of the party, but to suspend the convention pending the determination of the rights of the parties”.

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