PDP convention to be or not to be?: Appeal court decides today

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The Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt will by noon today deliver judgment in a suit filed by the suspended National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Uche Secondus, seeking to stop the national convention of the party.

The National Convention of PDP is scheduled to hold in Abuja on 30 and 31 October. It will elect new officers.

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Secondus, had through his Counsel, Tayo Oyetibo asked the Court to suspend the convention and allow him the right to preside over it.

A three- member panel of the court, headed by the Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani, unanimously fixed noon, Friday, October 29 for delivery of the judgment after hearing arguments from the lawyers to Secondus and other 11 respondents.

During Thursday’s proceedings, Oyetibo (SAN), argued that refusing to grant Secondus 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 Henry Bello, counsel to the first to fifth respondents, 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.

Mr. Bello reading an excerpt of a 24-paragraph affidavit sworn to by the First respondent, the Andoni LGA party Chairman, argued 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).

He 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.

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

Also, Donald Dee-Nwigwe (SAN), representing the ninth and 10th respondents, 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.

He submitted that, “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.

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