A Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt on Friday declared that the suspension of the embattled National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Uche Secondus, still stands.
Also, the court ordered a perpetual injunction restraining Secondus from parading himself as the party’s national chairman.
The trial judge, Justice Okugbelem Gbasam in his ruling on Friday upheld Secondus suspension in Suit No: PHC/2183/CS/2021 between Ibeawuchi Ernest Alex, Dennis Nna Amadi, Emmanuel Stephen Umezirike Onucha (as claimants/plaintiffs) and Prince Uche Secondus and the People’s Democratic Party (defendants).
Earlier, counsel for the first defendant (Secondus), Godfrey Uwalaka, had attempted to stop the court’s judgement slated for Friday, by making an oral application that an appeal had been entered into by the defendant.
Counsel for the claimants, Nwosuegbe Eze, urged the court to discountenance the purported appeal, noting that there was no motion before the court for stay of execution and no motion to arrest the ruling of the court.
Justice Gbasam, dismissed the first defendant’s counsel’s oral application for lack of merit, saying that it was not enough reason to stop the earlier slated ruling and judgement.
Gbasam, after careful review of the submissions made be the counsels in the matter, which lasted for about three hours, stated that the court had not seen any ground to rule against its earlier judgement delivered on August 23, 2021.
On the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter, since the issue in contention (Secondus’ suspension) borders on internal affairs of the party, the trial judge declared that applications challenging the court’s right to hear the matter, lacked merit.On the issue of fair hearing raised by counsel for the PDP (second defendant), Eugene Odey, the judge said the counsel had ample time to represent the client and the issue of fair hearing has no basis.
The court stated that Secondus was suspended by his ward (Ward 5) in Ikuru Town, Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State for anti-party activities.
He explained that by the virtue of Secondus’ suspension, the first defendant has lost the right to function as the national chairman of the party and any function carried out by him under suspension is invalid.
“I hereby hold that the court has jurisdiction to hear the suit. I hold, therefore, that his suspension and having been acknowledged by the party in the state, is valid. He shall not so act as national chairman. His suspension still subsists.”
Speaking to journalists outside the court room, counsel for the first defendant, Geoffrey Uwalaka, said he expected the judge to suspend the ruling, having informed the court that an appeal had been entered at the Court of Appeal. He said the Court of Appeal will decide Seconduce’ fate.
Uwakala noted that all the reliefs sought after by the plaintiffs (claimants) were admitted, saying that he would approach his client for the next line of action.
Also, counsel for the claimants, Eze, said they were prepared to face the defendants at the Court of Appeal.
He said, “The PDP members’ (plaintiffs) reason for the suspension is because they were not satisfied with the way the chairman was handling the affairs of the PDP at the national, because there a lot of internal wrangling, divisions and people were leaving the party.
“They felt that his remaining as the chairman has caused grave harm and havoc to the party. That is why they (plaintiffs) took this action. And court, this morning, confirmed it.”
Counsel for PDP, Eugene Odey, maintained that the court did not give them enough time to respond to the issues contained and their right to fair hearing was infringed upon.