Akinwuonmi suspends NWC meeting
Sen. Nazif calls for NEC meeting on Friday
By Folorunso Alagbede, Abuja
The crisis rocking the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Tuesday assumed a new dimension with the two Deputy National Chairmen of the party laying claim to acting national chairman of the party.
The development was sequel to Tuesday’s order of a High Court of Rivers State, which issued an interim injunction restraining Prince Uche Secondus from parading himself as the national chairman and member of the PDP.
Following the restraining order, the Deputy National Chairman (South), Elder Yemi Akinwonmi and the Deputy National Chairman (South) Senator Suleiman Nazif are both laying claim to the position of the Acting Chairman of the main opposition party in the country.
Despite the provisions of Section 35 of PDP constitution which allows Akinwonmi to take over from the embattled Chairman, Senator Nazif claimed yesterday that the Deputy National Chairman (South) is incapacitated, alleging that he had not attended NWC meeting in the last 10 months and as such cannot act in that capacity.
In a statement on Tuesday morning, Akinwonmi, who cited Section 35 (b) of the PDP Constitution to back his action, suspended the National Working Committee (NWC) meeting of the party scheduled to hold yesterday (Tuesday).
He said “Section 35(3) (b) of the constitution of the People’s Democratic Party empowers me to summon and preside over party meetings in the absence of the national chairman.
“Our attention was drawn yesterday evening to a court order which purports to restrain our National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus from summoning and presiding over the meetings of the organs of the party.
“In the foregoing circumstances, as Deputy National Chairman (South) of the People’s Democratic Party, after the consultations and in exercise of the aforesaid powers, hereby deem it fit and prosper to postpone the National Working Committee meeting earlier scheduled for today until further notice to allow for broader consultations in the overall interest of our party”.
However, in a counter development, Senator Nazif Suleiman (PDP Deputy National Chairman, North) convened an emergency meeting of some factions of the NWC at the party’s secretariat, claiming that he is the rightful person for the position of the Acting Chairman.
Suleiman pointed out that Elder Akinwonmi is incapacitated and has not attended NWC meeting in the last ten months.
Addressing a meeting of a faction of the NWC yesterday, he said, “Members of the NWC, we will recall that this morning (Tuesday) we are in possession of a valid court order, from a high court in Degema, Rivers State, issuing an order removing Secondus as a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as well as National Chairman of our great party.
“A court has also ordered that from the 23rd of August 2021, Prince Uche Secondus should stop parading himself as a National Chairman. NWC hereby comply fully with the court order.
“Consequently, the NWC hereby call for an emergency NEC meeting on Friday, 27th August 2021, at 10 am prompt to deliberate on matters affecting the party.
“You are all aware that PDP is a law abiding party, the party that follows due process. So we have received this order and this is it.
“And in line with the constitution of the Peoples Democratic Party, and I quote “functions of a Deputy National Chairman: there shall be two Deputy National Chairmen, one shall come from the northern part, while the other from the southern part of the country.
“Deputy National Chairman shall perform the following functions: assist the national chairman in the discharge of his duty and perform such other functions as may be assigned them.
“As a result of resignation, removal, death, incapacitation or absence of the national chairman, a Deputy National Chairman from the region, part of the country where the national chairman originates from, shall assume office as the National Chairman in acting capacity without prejudice to section 47 (6) of the party Constitution.
“In the absence of the National Chairman and the Deputy National Chairman from the regional part of the country where the National chairman originates from, the other Deputy National Chairman shall act as National Chairman without prejudice to 47 (6) of this Constitution.
“On this note, distinguish NWC members, I hereby take full charge of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as Chairman in an acting capacity.
“We have waited this morning for the Deputy National Chairman (south), who has been incapacitated, who has not been attending NWC meeting in the last 9 months and I believe there was a communication between the Deputy National Chairman (south). Like you know, in the absence of the Deputy Chairman South, I take full charge.
“So, I am hereby calling for an emergency NEC meeting on the 27th August, 2021, 10 am prompt to deliberate.
“And I believe all the leaders of this party, the owners of this party, will be in attendance and our governors, former presiding officers will be part of the NEC meeting to deliberate all pending issues”, he said .