Prince Uche Secodus has said he is still the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party.
He also said that the mandate given to him at the party’s National Convention in Abuja on December 9, 2017 remains intact until his four-year tenure expires in December this year.
He made the clarifications following his absence at the party’s 92nd National Executive Committee meeting held at its national secretariat in Abuja on Saturday amid speculations that he had been removed from office.
Secondus, in a statement sent to one of our correspondents from his media office, said his absence at the meeting was due to his decision to obey an interim order from Cross River State High Court.
Titled, “Secondus has not stepped down, just obeying Calabar court interim order,’ the statement was signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Ike Abonyi.
The statement said, “The media office of Prince Uche Secondus wishes to correct erroneous news circulating that he has stepped down as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party.
“Prince Secondus, by his unavoidable absence at the party’s National Executive Committee meeting on Saturday, was merely obeying an interim order from Cross River State High Court.
“As a law-abiding citizen, who has been an adherent of the rule of law as a basis for democracy, stayed away out of respect for the courts.
“Prince Secondus’ four-year mandate to lead the party, given on December 10, 2017, ends by December 2021.
“By this release, media office wishes to urge media houses and members of the public, particularly beloved members of PDP, to disregard any news suggesting that he has stepped down.”
Earlier on Saturday morning, Secondus had sent a memo to his deputy, Yemi Akinwonmi, directing him to preside over the NEC meeting.
The memo, titled, “NEC meeting of Saturday, August 28, 2021,” read, “I hereby request you to preside over the National Executive Committee of the party, taking place today, 28th August 2021 @12 noon, in my absence. Thank you.”
Secondus’ directive was believed to have been as a result of a court order from a high court in Calabar, which barred him from returning to office as the national chairman of the PDP.
The order came a few hours before the commencement of the NEC meeting which Secondus was meant to preside over.
Justice Edem Kooffreh granted the interim order while ruling on a motion ex parte filed by Enang Wani against Secondus and the PDP.
Ruling on the motion ex parte application, marked HC/240/2021, the judge granted “an order of interim injunction restraining the first defendant (Secondus) from assuming the office of the second defendant (PDP) while seeking reelection to the office of the national chairman of the second defendant pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
“The court barred Secondus from presiding over any meeting of the party until the motion is heard.
“An order of interim injunction restraining the first defendant (Secondus) from presiding over the national executive committee meeting of the 2nd Defendant scheduled to hold on Saturday, the 28th of August, 2012 or any subsequent meeting of the national executive committee of the second defendant and from presiding over any meeting of any organ of the second defendant or attending any of such meetings of functions in the capacity of national chairman of the party or in any other manner or form attempting to forcefully gain entrance into any such meetings or into the premises of the second defendant as national chairman of the party pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice,” the judge ruled.
The court also restrained the PDP from recognising or granting Secondus the powers due to the office of the national chairman.
“An order of interim injunction restraining the second defendant, its members, officers and agents from recognising the first defendant as its national chairman or from according to him any of the powers, rights or privileges due to the holder of the office of the National chairman of the 2 Defendant pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice,” the ruling read.
Kooffreh also ordered that the notice of the ruling be served to the parties by substituted means by “pasting at the entrance of the national secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party at Wadata Plaza, Plot 1970, Michael Okpara Street, Wuse Zone 5, Abuja, in the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria and by publication in two (2) National Newspapers in Nigeria”.
The matter was adjourned till September 7, 2021, for the hearing of the motion on notice.
It was the second time Secondus would be restrained by a court order from continuing in office as PDP National Chairman.
A Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt, presided over by Justice O. Gbasam, had last week made the same order.
However, a few days later, a countermanding order by Justice Nusirat Umar of the Kebbi State High Court reinstated him to office.
The Cross River State court order is the latest in the unfolding crisis rocking the opposition party.