Suspended Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman Prince Uche Secondus on Thursday faulted his suspension, saying that only the National Executive Committee (NEC) has the power to discipline him or any member of the National Working Committee (NWC).
He said those who purportedly suspended him acted contrary to Article 59 (3) of the PDP Constitution, which is clear on the party’s disciplinary measures.
But, defending the suspension, Rivers State PDP Chairman Ambassador Desmond Akawor said the party chairman was ousted because of his refusal to pay his dues in the last four years.
Akawor, who spoke in Port Harcourt, said Secondus jeopardised his party membership, following his refusal to pay dues.
He said Secondus worked against the interest of the party in the state by balkanising members of his Ward 5, including issuing a directive that the former Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Davies Ikanya, whose defection to PDP was considered a big harvest, should not be registered in his ward.
He said: “On June 5th, I wrote a letter to all wards that they should furnish us with the names of the party members that are dead and party members that have not paid their dues including those that had defected for one reason or the other.
“Among the wards that responded was Ward 5 in Andoni. And it clearly showed that he (Secondus) had not paid his dues for the past four years. It is an offence in our party.
“For six consecutive months, if you have not paid your dues, your membership of the party is questionable. That issue was kept pending because we had to approach the national to present some of these issues.”
Akawor added: “In his presence, intervention took place and he agreed on all the words that were put down only for him the following week to go globetrotting going from Niger to Ota to continue the course and saying that all that they had agreed was no longer possible.
“In that case what do you do? He’s not ready to listen to the elders, of course, he is equally not ready to look at the constitution of the party.
The members have no option than to go to court and that was the only option.
“I mentioned that at the ward level they set up a committee inviting him to come and defend those allegations, which if he doesn’t he remains suspended.
He said Secondus further kicked against the decision of the Southern governors that the next president should come from the South.
Akawor said for deciding to run for a second term in office, Secondus was prepared to rock the boat and work against the collective interest of the South.
He said: “The southern governors took a decision that the presidency should come from the South as an individual or a politician he should have known that it is now time to come home.
“The position he is occupying is on behalf of the South, he didn’t go there as an Andoni man. he went there because the chairmanship of the party was zoned to the south.
“If southern governors have taken a decision that they desire the presidency to come from the South he should have known that there is no point trying to rock the boat by kicking and running for second term.”
Secondus, in a statement by his media aide, Ike Abonyi, maintained that Article 59(3) of the PDP Constitution states clearly that only the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party can discipline the National Chairman or any other National officer of the party.”
He urged members of the public and the media to be wary of agents who were out to distract the main opposition party from its focus of rescuing Nigeria
Last week, the PDP Ward 5 in Ikuru town, Andoni, Rivers State suspended Secondus from the party.
His suspension was announced by the Ward Chairman, Mr. George Christopher, at the party’s extraordinary meeting in Ikuru town. He said 11 of the 17 executive members endorsed the suspension.
Christopher accused Secondus of not attracting development to the area, despite being in a strategic position.
He added: ”The ward 5 executive of the PDP in Ikuru town on Aug. 31, discussed issues affecting the party.
“The ward executive suspended Secondus after a duly constituted meeting convened by the Secretary on the instructions of the Chairman in accordance with the party’s constitution.”
Also, former Chairman of Andoni local government and chairman of the ward disciplinary committee, Mr. Benson Alpheous, said Secondus was suspended for disobeying the party’s decision that he step down as national chairman.
“Until further notice, Secondus remains suspended. For now, until you hear from us again, Secondus remain suspended.”
A Rivers High Court had on Monday, Aug. 23 granted an interim order, restraining Secondus from parading himself as the national chairman and member of the PDP.
Justice Okogbule Gbasam of the Degema Judicial Division, presiding over a vacation court in Port Harcourt, granted the order, pending the determination of the substantive suit.
This made the party on Wednesday, Aug. 25 to adopt its Deputy National Chairman (South), Yemi Akinwonmi, as acting chairman.
In another twist, another court of coordinate jurisdiction in Kebbi on Thursday, Aug. 26 restored the embattled national chairman to his position.
However, on Aug. 27, another High Court in Cross River granted an interim order restraining Secondus from resuming office as national chairman.
Edem Kooffreh, the presiding judge, gave the order on Friday, while ruling on a motion ex parte marked HC/240/2021, and filed by Enang Wani.
The court barred Secondus from presiding over any meeting of the party until the motion is heard.