Secondus: PDP Still Contemplating Review of Presidential Election Petition

Prince Uche Secondus
  • Clears air on Imo governorship as US attorney arrives Nigeria to witness proceeding Monday

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus, says the party is still considering a review of the Supreme Court judgement on the presidential election petition it filed against President Muhammadu Buhari. But Secondus said contrary to reports, PDP was yet to submit any application to that effect.

The PDP chairman, who spoke with THISDAY saturday in Abuja, dismissed insinuations that the party might back down on its petition over the apex court judgement on the Imo State governorship election. He said the review of Imo governorship was not in any way challenging the supremacy of the apex court, but only a plea for it to take a second look at an obvious error that could have devastating consequences for future elections in the country.

Meanwhile, a constitutional expert, foremost US attorney and one time associate deputy US attorney general, Atty Bruce Fein, is expected to arrive the country this weekend as the international community continues to show interest in the Supreme Court review proceedings on the Imo governorship election debacle.

Secondus said on the party’s petition seeking a review of the apex court judgement affirming the defeat of its candidate in the 2019 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, “The national leadership of the party was only contemplating a review, but as we speak, PDP has not submitted any petition for that before the Supreme Court.

“We are specifically concentrating on the one of Imo State, because the figures did not add. The judgement of the Supreme Court with their figures is more than the registered votes and votes cast.

“We know the supremacy of the Supreme Court on all issues. Everything stops on their table. That is why we took it back to them. We are simply saying, sirs, these figures don’t add up. If you leave it as it is, there would be great problems in the future. We are saying, kindly take a second look. We know you are the last power, but kindly review what you have done

“We are not challenging the constitutional powers of the Supreme Court. We are merely taking it back to them, asking our lords, the justices, to kindly review. This Imo State issue is different from Bayelsa State. This matter will haunt us in the future.”

In spite of the berating of two senior lawyers by the Supreme Court justices for seeking a review of the Bayelsa governorship verdict, the PDP leadership says it has no intention of withdrawing its petition on the Imo election. The Supreme Court is expected to hear and decide the PDP request for a review of the Imo election on March 2.

Last week, the apex court sanctioned two leading lawyers, Afe Babalola and Wole Olanipekun, for daring to stand as lawyers for the Bayelsa State All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, David Lyon.

Former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Kanu Agabi, is the lead lawyer for the PDP and Emeka Ihedioha in the review case before the Supreme Court.

There have been fears that following the outcome of the Bayelsa case PDP and its ousted governorship candidate might withdraw before Monday.

But National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, told THISDAY that there was no cause for alarm and PDP would follow the suit before the apex court to a conclusive end.

Ologbondiyan said, “The decision to seek a review is National Executive Committee’s. An emergency NEC just took place and there was no call for withdrawal. Therefore, the party is one hundred per cent in support of the appeal for review.

“We are at the Supreme Court, because we believe that there is an injustice and that is why we are seeking a review. Our appeal is on merit and not in the same way with the APC on Bayelsa State.

“The facts are not the same. So, we are going on with the case and it is our belief that the Supreme Court will listen to the facts of the case for the growth and development of democracy in Nigeria.”

Ihedioha, too, dismissed rumours that he was planning to withdraw his application for a review of the January 14 Supreme Court judgement that sacked him and installed Hope Uzodinma as governor of Imo State. He is asking for a reversal of the judgement, because there were errors in it.

The rebuttal is contained in a statement by the Director General of his campaign organisation, Dr. Vin Udokwu.

Apart from Fein, representatives of other notable international organisations have confirmed their attendance at the review. They include Amnesty International, Centre for Democracy and Development, European Union Delegation to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ECOWAS, and Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA).