Party gets stay of execution on court order
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it will only recognise the national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scheduled for Saturday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.
The commission’s Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Osaze Uzzi, who spoke yesterday on the looming threat of parallel convention by some aggrieved elements in the opposition party, said it was only the PDP convention in Port Harcourt that it will monitor having met its guidelines.
“There’s only one convention known to the law and our regulations for which we were given appropriate notice and that is the one in Port Harcourt. INEC will monitor the elections to all offices except national chairman, secretary and auditor for which we have been served with a court order, “ he said.
Despite efforts by the leadership to mend fences with aggrieved members of the PDP, the rebellious group under the aegis of the concerned stakeholders, made up of 54 top leaders of the party, threatened to go ahead with arrangements for a parallel convention. They demanded among other things, the suspension of the convention to allow for proper reconciliation over disputed congresses. The group led by the former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, and former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, warned that if their demands were not met, they may be forced to hold their own convention in Abuja.
Meanwhile, in a bid to ensure that nothing stops tomorrow’s convention, the PDP has secured a stay of execution to free it from the Justice A.B Mohammed’s judgement barring the party from conducting elections for some positions in the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).
A Federal High Court in Lagos last Monday, granted an injunction stopping the elections into the offices of the National Chairman, National Secretary and National Auditor.
In another suit filed before Justice A. B. Mohammed of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting in Jabi yesterday, by Chief Emeka Debia, against the PDP in suit no FCT/HC/CV/1443/2016 in a final judgment delivered today, barred PDP from conducting election into 18 National offices at its May 21, 2016 Convention.
The judge stated that the tenure of the National Secretary and National Auditor of the party will expire by December 2018, while the remaining officers’ tenure will expire by August 30, 2017 with the exception of the National Financial Secretary and Chairman whose offices are vacant.
However, in a hurriedly-prepared notice of appeal and stay of execution filed by Legal Adviser of PDP, Mr. Victor Kwon, the party alleged that there were some elements who were bent on tearing the party apart.
“It has been uncovered that these elements are working against the interest of the party and ultimately for the break up of the party. We call on our party members resist these elements and save the soul of our party,” he said.