PLETHORA OF COURT CASES THREATEN OUTCOME OF PDP CONVENTION

 Yusuf Alli, Abuja

• Mark panel pushes for withdrawal of suits by Secondus, others

Fears are rife in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that court cases instituted by aggrieved chieftains may threaten the outcome of its proposed convention, it was learnt on Thursday.

The cloud of uncertainty hovering over the convention has not fizzled out, following the refusal of the suspended national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, to withdraw the case.

Although the party’s Reconciliation Committee headed by Senator David Mark met with the embattled chairman on Wednesday on the protracted litigations, the meeting was stalled.

Secondus said the solution lies with Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, whose loyalists are in court against him.

He restated his readiness to withdraw his cases if Wike can shift ground on the court cases.

There were plans by party elders to meet with PDP governors again to prevail on Wike to discontinue the court cases.

Investigation revealed that the PDP National Executive Committee has raised a 270-man 2021 National Convention Organising Committee (NCOC), headed by Adamawa State Governor Umaru Fintiri.

The Deputy Chairman is Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri while Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde is to serve as the secretary.

The convention committee will be inaugurated today.

However, it was learnt that party leaders were worried that the court rulings and judgments on the cases may affect the national convention.

Mark panel and party leaders have identified total withdrawal of the cases as the main solution to a hitch-free National Convention.

A party source said: “With the court cases, we have discovered that PDP cannot hold any National Convention until after the exit of the Secondus’ National Working Committee on December 9. Either way, both Wike and Secondus cases can make or mar the outcome of the convention.

“If the court restores Secondus, it means all the actions we have taken in his absence were null and void. And if Wike’s loyalists win in the High Court and the Court of Appeal, Secondus may shift the battle to the Supreme Court.

“The main issue bothering party leaders is the validity of the National Convention with the cases in court.

“For a strong opposition party seeking to dislodge the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), it is not in our interest to be in and out of court on party matters ahead of the 2023 polls.

“Mark panel on Wednesday summoned Secondus to debrief him on the dilemma of the party and what he can suggest as the way out. He assured them that he will withdraw all his cases from the court.

“He, however, reminded the committee members that he was not the first to go to court. He, therefore, asked party leaders, especially governors, to persuade Wike to tell his loyalists to withdraw their cases.”

“Wike has insisted that he will follow all the cases through. Party leaders/ elders believe his position will not help PDP’s future.

“The elders have resolved to meet with the PDP Governors Forum to prevail on Wike to bail out the party by leaving issues out of the court.”