Court refuses to vacate order stopping Secondus, Omehia, Opara from attending PDP meetings

Court fixes April 18 to hear Nnamdi Kanu’s N1bn suit against Nigerian Govt, DSS

refuses to vacate order stopping Secondus, Omehia, Opara from attending meetings

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Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, on Thursday refused to vacate the execution of his order barring a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic , PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, from attending the party's meetings slated for April 18 and 19, 2024.

Justice Ekwo, who refused to stay the order in a ruling, also refused similar request made by Celestine Omehia and former Deputy Speaker of the of Representatives, Austin Opara.

The judge in his ruling in three separate applications filed by Secondus, Omehia and Opara, held that the case of the applicants were grossly incompetent and lacking in merit.

Justice Ekwo had two weeks ago issued an interim order restraining Secondus from participating in the forthcoming meeting of the PDP, pending the hearing of the substantive suit before the court.

He had made the order following an ex-parte application brought by one Titus Jones, a member of the PDP from Ward 5, Ikuru Town, Andoni Local Area (LGA) of .

Jones in a suit marked marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/440/2024, joined Secondus; PDP; PDP Chairman, Umar Damagun; PDP Secretary, Samuel Anyanwu; PDP NEC; PDP National Working Committee (NWC); PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) and (INEC) as 1st to 8th defendants, respectively.

His lawyer, Mr Joshua Musa (SAN) had sought an order restraining the NEC, NWC, party's chairman, secretary, and BoT from allowing Secondus to attend any of the meetings pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice, having been suspended from the party.

When the matter came up on Wednesday, the court was informed of an appeal filed by Secondus challenging the interim order as well as an application seeking the stay of the execution of the order made on April 5, 2024.

After listening to parties on Wednesday, the judge had adjourned to Thursday to decide whether he will stay the execution of the interim order as a of the appeal.

However, in his ruling Justice Ekwo held that the case of the applicants was bereft of merit because they failed to challenge the interim order before going on appeal.

According to the judge, Rules 29 (9)(1) of the court provides a period of time within which anyone whom an ex-parte order is issued against can approach the court for a stay.

He added that by filing an appeal at the appellate court the applicants were bypassing the law.

Meanwhile, the court also made an order further extending the interim order barring the applicants from attending PDP meetings pending the hearing and determination of the suits.

It will be recalled that the court had in the ruling held that, “An Order is hereby made restraining the 1st Defendant from attending any meeting of the 2nd Defendant, be it caucus meetings, meetings of the National Executive Committee (5th Defendant) or Board of Trustees (7th Defendant) or any other meeting howsoever described participating in the proceedings, deliberations of any such meeting pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.

“Order is hereby made restraining the 4th Defendant, his Agents, Servants, Subordinates, Officers howsoever described from giving any notice of meeting of the 2nd Defendant be it caucus meetings, meetings of the National Executive Committee (5th Defendant) or Board of Trustees (7th Defendant) or any other meeting however called to the 1st Defendant who has been suspended from the 2nd Defendant pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.

“Order is hereby made restraining the 2nd defendant, its Officers, Servants, Agents, Privies, Organs howsoever described from granting access or allowing the 1st Defendant to attend and/or participate in the meetings of the National Caucus, the National Executive Committee or the Board of Trustees or any other meeting of the 2nd Defendant while his suspension subsists pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.

“Order is hereby made restraining the 8th Defendant, its Officers, Servants, Agents howsoever described from according recognition to the report, proceedings, conclusions or resolutions reached at any meeting of the 2nd Defendant held in violation of the judgment in the case of Ibeawuchi Ernest Alex & 4 Ors, V. Prince Uche Secondus Suit No: PHC/2183/CS/2021 and Articles 30 (1) (S), 31(1) (u) and 32 (1) (b) of the Constitution of the Peoples Democratic Party (as amended in 2017) pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.”

Meanwhile, the court's decision affected a similar suit seeking to also bar Omehia and Opara from attending the PDP's National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting pending the hearing and determination of the main matter.

The matter has been adjourned till April 25 for hearing of the main suits.

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