… Deputy chairmen battle for control of the party
The leadership crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, took a new twist Tuesday as two Acting National Chairmen emerged following the interim order that removed Prince Uche Secondus.
A High Court of Rivers State had on Monday issued an interim injunction restraining Prince Uche Secondus from parading himself as the national chairman and member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Hon. Justice. O. Gbasam of the Degema Judicial Division vacation court sitting in Port Harcourt granted the order on Monday, following a suit No: PHC/2183/CS/2021 filed by Ibeawuchi Ernest Alex, Dennis Nna Amadi, Emmanuel Stephen and Umezirike Onucha against Uche Secondus (1st defendant) and the PDP (2nd defendant).
The court also stopped Prince Secondus from parading himself as a member of the PDP.
Following the court order, the PDP Deputy National Chairman (South), Elder Yemi Akinwonmi declared in a statement he personally issued that by virtue of the provisions of the party’s constitution he is now empowered to preside over the affairs of the party.
The statement reads: “Section 35(3) (b) of the constitution of the People’s Democratic Party empowers me to summon and preside over party meetings in the absence of the national chairman.
“Our attention was drawn yesterday evening to a court order which purports to restrain our National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus from summoning and presiding over the meetings of the organs of the party.
“In the foregoing circumstances, as Deputy National Chairman (South) of the People’s Democratic Party, after the consultations and in exercise of the aforesaid powers, hereby deem it fit and prosper to postpone the National Working Committee meeting earlier scheduled for today until further notice to allow for broader consultations in the overall interest of our party.”
However, a few hours after the Deputy National Chairman (South) announced he has taken over leadership of the party, his colleague and Deputy National Chairman (North), Nazif Sulieman, declared himself as the PDP acting National Chairman.
Senator Nazif stressed that though the PDP constitution provides for the Deputy National South to fill the vacuum created Prince Secondus absence, he is taking over in Acting capacity as the Deputy National Chairman South is incapacitated and has not been attending party meetings in the past nine months.
“You are all aware PDP is a law abiding party, the party that follows due process. So we have received this order and this is it.
“And in line with the constitution of the peoples democratic party, and I quote ” functions of a deputy national chairman, there shall be two deputy national chairman, one shall come from the northern part, while the other from the southern part of the country. Deputy national chairman shall perform the following functions: 1) assist the national chairman in the discharge of his duty . 2) perform such other functions as may be assigned them. 3) In a result of resignation, removal, death, incapacitation or absence of the national chairman, a deputy national chairman from the region part of the country where the national chairman originates from shall assume office as the national chairman in acting capacity without prejudice to section 47 (6)of the party Constitution. 4) in the absence of the National chairman and the deputy national chairman from the region part of the country where the National chairman originates from, the other deputy national chairman shall act as national chairman without prejudice to 47 (6) of this Constitution.
“On this note, distinguish NWC members I hereby take full charge of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as Chairman in an acting capacity.
“We have waited this morning for the deputy national chairman (south), who has been incapacitated, who has not been attending NWC meeting in the last 9 months and I believe there was a communication between the deputy national chairman (south). Like you know, in the absence of the deputy chairman south, I take full charge, so I am hereby calling for an emergency NEC meeting on the 27th August, 2021, 10 am prompt to deliberate.
“And I believe all the leaders of this party, the owners of this party, will be in attendance are our governors, former presiding officers will be part of the NEC meeting to deliberate all pending issues.”
Responding to a question on whether there is now a division in the NWC, Senator Nazif said “Let me make this very clear that this meeting was called for 2 pm and like I said, the deputy national chairman south has been incapacitated and did not attend any meeting in the last 9 to 10 months as far as NWC is concern. He has not been in communication with any member of the NWC for the last 10 months. And like I said this party must continue its process.
“And if I am not available someone else will take over. If the national chairman is not available someone will take over, if the deputy national chairman south is not available, the deputy chairman north will take charge.
“This is the resolution that was passed by the expanded caucus. And this was the resolution passed by the NWC in our last meeting and we all agreed that there will be a meeting today, meeting that was supposed to be presided over by the National Chairman, unfortunately the court order came from a competent court and stop the chairman from acting as chairman of the party.”