A Rivers State High Court on Monday issued an interim injunction restraining Uche Secondus from parading or acting as the National Chairman and member of Nigeria’s opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The order of the vacation was granted following a motion ex parte marked PHC/2183/CS/2021 filed by Ibeawuchi Ernest Alex, Dennis Nna Amadi, Emmanuel Stephen and Umezirike Onucha against Secondus as the first defendant and the PDP as the second defendant.
Justice Okogbule Gbasam of the Degema Division of the Rivers State High Court, after the reading of the affidavit in support of the motion of ex parte as well as the written address, and upon hearing the submission of H.A. Bello, counsel to applicants, granted the interim injunction restraining Secondus from parading as the national chairman of the PDP.
The order reads in part: “That an order restraining the 1st defendant from parading himself as a member of the 2nd defendant or the national chairman of the defendant or performing the functions of national chairman of the 2nd defendant or calling, attending or presiding over any meeting of the 2nd defendant or any committee of the 2nd defendant at the Ward, Local Government or State level or calling for any Ward, Local Government or State Congress of the 2nd defendant or setting up committees for such Congresses or participating in any activity of the 2nd defendant whatsoever whilst on suspension as a member of the 2nd defendant pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.”
The judge also granted leave to serve by substituted means the originating summons, motion on notice, all orders made by the court and all subsequent processes on the respondent by pasting same on the gate of his residence in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
Justice. O. Gbasam’s order will appear to further deepen the crisis rocking the PDP and its embattled Chairman, Secondus, who’s been fighting hard to retain his position.
The Secondus-led National Working Committee (NWC) was elected at the December 2017 national convention of the PDP held at the Eagle Square in Abuja, and his tenure of four years is supposed to end in December 2021.
But while he was given the option of organising a convention in October, reports suggest Secondus insisted on completing his tenure.
The ruling of the vacation court is the latest in the series of events triggered by the crisis rocking the national leadership of the PDP.
A former spokesman for the PDP Presidential Campaign, Kasim Afegbua, had earlier accused Secondus and the leadership of the party of committing a series of infractions.
He submitted petitions to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in April, to probe the party’s leadership.
Afegbua asked the anti-corruption agencies to look into the financial transactions of Secondus, in the spirit of transparency, accountability, and book-keeping, in line with the existing anti-corruption laws.
But Secondus have since denied any wrongdoing to the court order,“If Secondus and the party are taken to court, they will defend themselves,” Secondus’ media aide, Ike Abonyi, said in a statement on Monday.
“PDP and Secondus are not afraid of court; this party is a child of history, owned by Nigerians, bigger than any individual or group, including desperadoes.”
Abonyi, however, claimed that the story of the restraining order originated through the special assistant on media to the Rivers State Governor.
It would be recalled that on August 3, seven national officers of the main opposition party resigned from their roles, alleging that they were being side-lined and treated unfairly by Secondus.
This, among several other events, forced an emergency meeting of members of the PDP Board of Trustees who sought ways to resolve the crisis in the party.
The BoT and PDP Governors Forum had previously met separately to intervene in the crisis, especially after the resignation of seven members of the NWC.