Appeal Court to rule on PDP convention tomorrow

•Why consensus is difficult over deputy chairmanship •Ekweremadu’s committee to determine Arapaja, Anyanwu’s fates

The Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt reserved ruling on a motion filed by a former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, praying the court to order the suspension of the party’s convention slated for Saturday.

This move by a three-man appeal panel led by Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani is casting doubt over the possibility of PDP’s weekend National Convention slated for Abuja.

After receiving submissions by parties the court fixed Thursday, October 28, 2021 for hearing and ruling on the motion for Interim Order of Injunction brought by Secondus against the PDP and others.

Secondus had through his counsel, Payo Oyetubo, urged the court to suspend the October 30th and 31st National Convention of the party and declare him the right person to preside over the convention.

When the matter came up in court, six other members of PDP drew the attention of the court on their application for joinder which was not opposed by counsel to Secondus and was subsequently granted by the three-man panel of the Court of Appeal

However, the defendants’ counsel including those who joined in the suit opposed the motion for interim injunction by Secondus’ counsel seeking to stop PDP’s forthcoming National Convention, asked for time to respond to the process.

The Tsammani-led three-man appeal panel after listening to the argument from the parties, ordered counsel to the plaintiff to serve the process on the defendants’ counsel within 24 hours.

Tsammani also urged respondents’ counsels to respond within 24 hours and adjourned till  October 28 for a hearing and possible ruling on the motion.

Why consensus is difficult over deputy chairmanship

SEVENTY-TWO hours to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national convention, the quest for a possible consensus candidate for the post of deputy national chairman zoned to the South-West appears foreclosed. 

The main reason for the development was said to be a decision taken by PDP South-West governors at a meeting long ago to micro-zone the post in the geopolitical area.

The agreement came on the heels of a meeting held by all the governors elected on PDP platform the position to concede the post to the South-West.

A former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and a former deputy governor of Oyo State, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja are the contenders for the position. A source said it was difficult for the stakeholders to pull through the consensus option now because of the initial agreement of the South-West PDP to micro-zone the post to Osun State.

“It would be ridiculous if anyone would want an Osun member of the party to step down from contesting a post zoned to his state so that a candidate from another state, where the post had not been zoned to, could get the position. Besides, the South -West meeting that endorsed Oyinlola as the consensus candidate, has not changed its position,” a top source informed the Nigerian Tribune.

Another source said individual governors of the PDP had their sympathy for the contenders for the position of deputy national chairman, which indicates a keen contest at the convention proper.

“The southern governors were the ones, who asked him to contest for the post. Some of them reached out to him directly on this issue. It was because of him that the position was zoned to the South-West. And when that zoning was done, the SouthWest caucus of the party met at the Oyo State Lodge in Abuja, where Governor Seyi Makinde presided.

“It was moved that the position be micro-zoned to Osun State and that Oyinlola should be the candidate. All the leaders at the meeting agreed with the suggestions, the motion was seconded and ratified.

Ekweremadu’s committee to determine Arapaja, Anyanwu’s fates

PROMINENT candidates for the National Working Committee (NWC) posts of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), including Ambassador Taofeeq Arapaja and Senator Sam Anyanwu, have their fates hanging in the balance as petitions have emerged against their presence in the race. 

Arapaja is bidding to be elected as the national deputy chairman (South) while Anyanwu is seeking the post of the national secretary of the party at the party’s national convention this weekend. 

But a petition against Arapaja before the Ike Ekweremadu-led appeal committee claims that he did not resign his post as the national vice chairman (South-West) of the party before filing his papers to contest for the national deputy chairman. 

Similarly, Anyanwu, who had emerged as the consensus candidate of the South-East for the post of the national secretary is being accused by a petitioner of taking the PDP to court in the past. 

Both are infractions frowned on by the electoral provisions of the main opposition party. Briefing reporters before the commencement of the committee sitting in Abuja on Tuesday, Senator Ekweremadu confirmed the receipt of the petitions against both aspirants and others. 

He said: “On the whole, we received about five appeals. One is in respect of the non-clearance of the deputy national secretary by the aspirant himself, Hon. Akintan Kareem. There is also a petition in respect of clearance of the deputy national youth leader from Edo State for not being a party member. 

“One of the petitions is in respect of Usman Sani Shehu as aspirant for National Youth Leader for forgery of certificates and age falsification. 

“We also received an appeal in respect of another aspirant for youth leader, Mohammed Usman for non-resignation of current position as a youth leader in his ward. 

“We also received the petition against the clearance of Ambassador Arapaja as deputy chairman for South for non-resignation of his existing position. We received three petitions, two of those petitions were in respect of the clearance of Senator Sam Anyanwu as aspirant for national secretary claiming that he had taken the parties to court previously, against the party’s constitution without exploring the internal mechanism of the party for complain. 

“There’s also a third petition actually in support of the disqualification of Dr Eddy Olafeso as aspirant for national publicity secretary.” 

The committee chairman assured that irrespective of the members’ feelings, they would treat the appeals and petitions dispassionately. 

The former deputy Senate president added: “But no matter what is our feeling about those appeals and petitions, what we intend to do as a very responsible body is to listen to all those that have written to us and hear from them, look at the document before us and possibly reconvene to look at the presentations and document before us and be able to drop a report which we will send to the party as soon as possible when we are done.” 

Also speaking to reporters Tuesday, the chairman of the PDP national convention accreditation committee and governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, assured that the committee would be guided by high level of integrity in the accreditation of delegates for the national convention. 

He added: “Saturday is very critical to all us. We need to understand our role. We need to come in early and hope that every material that will be needed will be available at that point in time.” Meanwhile, the executive committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-West on Tuesday adopted Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja as a consensus candidate to contest for the deputy national chairman (South) ahead of this weekend’s national convention of the party. 

The convention screening committee had cleared Arapaja and former Osun State governor, Chief Olagunsoye Oyinlola, to contest for the position of the deputy national chairman of the party. 

The zonal spokesman, Chief Sanya Atofarati, in a communique made available to the Nigerian Tribune in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, after the meeting of the zonal executive committee held in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, revealed that the party also endorsed unanimously the candidature of former federal lawmaker in Ondo State, Debo Ologunagba, to contest for the national publicity secretary of the PDP. 

According to Atofarati, “We acknowledged that three National Working Committee positions were zoned to the West and duly micro-zoned by the zonal caucus among the three blocks constituting the zone i e; Lagos and Ogun; Oyo and Osun; and Ondo and Ekiti. 

“After a cursory deliberation on the capacity and credibility of aspirants jostling for the position of national deputy chairman, the ZEC accepted the nomination, resolved and unanimously adopted Am- bassador Taofeek Arapaja as the consensus candidate of the zone for the aforemen- tioned National Deputy Chair- man (NDC) position.

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