Despite the ruling of a High Court in Kebbi State which quashed his suspension and reinstated him as national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the fate of Prince Uche Secondus is still uncertain.
The leadership crisis in the party assumed a new dimension as the embattled national chairman was yesterday stopped from presiding over the party’s caucus meeting.
The meeting which statutorily precedes the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting was however presided over by the deputy national chairman (South), Elder Yemi Akinwonmi, in his capacity as acting national chairman.
The NEC meeting billed to hold today is expected to address the crisis rocking the party, including Secondus’ fate.
Akinwonmi was endorsed to pilot the affairs of the PDP by the party stakeholders including, governors, Board of Trustees and the National Working Committee (NWC) following an interim order by a High Court in Rivers State on Monday which restrained Secondus from parading himself as national chairman and member of the party.
But the high court in Kebbi State on Thursday overturned the decision of the Rivers high court when it ordered Secondus to return to his position as PDP national chairman.
Armed with the court, Secondus who arrived at the party’s premises at about 9:38am yesterday was received with cheers by his supporters at the party office.
The embattled chairman however proceeded to his office where he held a meeting with the acting chairman, Akinwonmi, in the company of a former governorship candidate of Ogun State, Hon Ladi Adebutu.
A mild drama ensued at the venue of the caucus meeting held at the party secretariat, when the chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Walid Jibrin, said upon his return Secondus had asked that he should be allowed to preside over the meeting.
The request was greeted with uproar by members of the party caucus.
Following the stiff opposition to the request that Secondus should preside over the meeting, Senator Jibrin, and chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum and Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, went to meet with Secondus in his office and pleaded with him not to attend the meeting.
They however returned with Akinwonmi who presided over the meeting, but the drama continued as Akinwonmi interrupted the master of ceremony, asking him not to refer to him as deputy national chairman.
Introducing himself as the acting national chairman of the party, Akinwonmi noted that he received a letter as he was approaching the caucus meeting.
Although he refused to give details of the content of the letter, members of the caucus stopped him from reading it.
He said, “When I arrived at the secretariat a letter was handed over to me and I received it. I told the BOT chairman and he said he also has it.
“My dear caucus, the letter is very important. I will want us, if possible, to first of all discuss the content of the letter because it is very important,” he added, noting that he has held over five or six meetings since Thursday.
Meanwhile, the national caucus of PDP has fixed the much anticipated national convention of the party for October 30 this year.
It also said the venue of the convention will be decided by the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting today.
The caucus also set up a committee led by former Senate president, Senator David Mark, to plead with Governor Nyesom Wike and Prince Uche Secondus to withdraw their court cases.
It was gathered that after the meeting some party leaders led by Senator David Mark went to meet with Secondus in his office. Darius Ishaku came out of the meeting by 2:45pm.
Chairman of the PDP governors’ forum, Tambuwal, who briefed journalists after the caucus meeting, said, “We have just risen from our 40th meeting of the National caucus of our great party, the PDP, where we have resolved to submit to the NEC of our party tomorrow a recommendation from the National Working Committee for the national convention of our party to be held between Friday 30th of October to Saturday 31st of October. It will be determined by the grace of God tomorrow by NEC.
“Also, this distinguished body had empanelled distinguished leaders of our party, under the leadership of former president of the Senate, Senator David Mark, to interface with our leaders who are involved in these issues of court so that all court matters can be now withdrawn and then for normalcy to return to the party.
“I appeal on behalf of this body to all well-meaning members of our party to sheath their sword. Let us embrace peace because Nigeria is waiting for PDP and I believe that we have the capacity to resolve whatever issues we have internally.”
On the Kebbi court order which reinstated Secondus, he said, “Well, that matter came up and in view of the fact that we are yet to receive the service of the court order, this committee is going to meet with all the parties involved accordingly.”
Meanwhile, a statement yesterday, Secondus said he had taken over the affairs of the party.
The statement by his media aide, Ike Abonyi, reads in part: “Secondus who was obeying the purported experte order of a Degema High Court in Rivers State had stayed away but got reinstated after a Kebbi High Court presided over by Justice Nasirat.i. Umar directed him to resume.
“Sequel to that Prince Secondus who had stayed away even though not served resumed and the deputy National Chairman South, Elder Yemi Akinwomi who held forth in his absence upon receipt of the new Court order handed over to him.
“At the brief handover , Prince Secondus pledged to continue providing astute leadership to the party.”
Elder Akinwomi also announced his receipt of the court order which he presented to the caucus meeting.”