Secondus, Anyanwu deepen PDP pre-convention crisis

  • Suspended chair ‘won’t withdraw case’
  • Southeast chieftains reject governors’ candidate for secretary

There is anxiety in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) over the insistence of suspended National Chairman Uche Secondus to forge ahead with his court.

Fears are rife in the main opposition party that the court case may thwart preparations for the national convention scheduled for October 30-31

The embattled chairman is in court seeking his reinstatement into office, following the ruling of Federal High Court, which affirmed the decision of his ward in River State to suspend him.

Secondus maintained yesterday that he was under pressure to seek and get justice.

His insistence on the litigation has created tension in the party, ahead of the national convention.

Sources feared that Secondus’ triumph at the court may be a setback for the ongoing convention preparation.

Also, it is feared that if the embattled chairman is reinstated, the convention, which is expected to throw up new party officers, may become null and void.

Secondus said he was seeking justice to  save the party from “derailment”.

Secondus’ spokesman Ike Abonyi, said in a statement yesterday: ”The attention of the media office of Prince Uche Secondus has been drawn to unsubstantiated story claiming that Prince Uche Secondus is under pressure to withdraw his case against the party from court.

“ The truth which the said news did not state is that Prince Secondus is not in court against the party, but was dragged to court instead by person bent on hijacking the soul of the party.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the media office wishes to restate that Prince Secondus is really under pressure for justice and would seek it anywhere to save the party from hirelings out to destroy and derail the focus of the party.

“The party leaders are aware of who went to court against it and knows what to do rather than indulging in mind game.”

Secondus said only justice can save PDP from brinkmanship.

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He added: “Nothing short of Justice and respect for its servants will save PDP from the hands holding now.

“For avoidance of doubt the justice Prince Secondus is seeking is as enshrined in the party constitution which is Supreme and states clearly how a National Chairman and any National officer can be sanctioned even where there is a known beach talk less where there is none.”

Also at the weekend, another crisis erupted in the Southeast with the rejection of the nomination of Senator Sam Anyanwu as consensus candidate for the position of National Secretary.

Following the zoning of the position to the Southeast, PDP Governors Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) announced the choice of Senator Anyanwu as the consensus candidate. But leaders of the party in the geo-political zone have now said no.

Few weeks ago, the eight-man panel set up by the PDP National Caucus on conflicting suits in court had decided to meet with River State Governor Nyesom Wike, Secondus and other litigants.

The panel, headed by ex-Senate President David Mark, set a minimum benchmark for the warring leaders bordering on “immediate withdrawal” of all cases in court.

The panel was of the opinion that only the withdrawal of all suits in court can enable PDP to hold a hitch-free national convention.

According to a source, members had identified Wike and Secondus as the arrowheads of the crisis rocking the party.

The source said: “We have resolved to hold a frank session with Wike and Secondus within the next 48 hours. We will make the observations of party leaders to them and also seek their cooperation on the way out for the party.

“Our minimum demand is immediate withdrawal of all cases in court in order to restore stability to the party. Without the withdrawal of the cases, PDP National Convention cannot hold on October 31st.

“The conflicting orders from different courts have not helped the nation’s democracy and the image of PDP as a democratic party.

“Do not forget that withdrawal of cases was a major mandate given to us by the National Caucus.”

“Also, we will use the opportunity to seek their opinions on all issues that led to the crisis in order to avert a repeat in the future. By the time we interact with them, there may be some of their backers or foot soldiers we need to reach out to.

“Once they agree to withdraw cases, we will then look for internal solutions after meeting with the key actors and their supporters.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “This crisis may lead to recommendations from the panel on how to handle such whenever it occurs.  Our report may even guide PDP to amend its constitution on intra-party disputes.”


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