Suspended National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, has moved against the party’s national convention slated for October 30 and 31, 2021. According to Secondus, the PDP cannot go ahead with its plans to hold the convention with his appeal against his suspension yet to be determined.
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Consequently, Secondus, through his lawyer, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo, has written to the leadership of the PDP to warn that it would be illegal for the party to hold the convention pending the hearing of an appeal he filed against his suspension. Recall that a High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, had on September 10, 2021 delivered a judgement restraining Secondus from performing the functions of the office of National Chairman of the PDP.
Secondus had filed an appeal at the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal seeking to upturn the judgement of the lower court. The letter from Secondus’ lawyers to the PDP reads: “We act for the appellant in the above captioned matter, Prince Uche Secondus, who was the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), prior to the institution of Suit Number PHC/2183/CS/2021, and wish to bring to your attention the following facts:
“On 23 August 2021 one Mr Ibeawuchi E. Alex and four others jointly instituted Suit No PHC/2183/CS/2021 at the High Court of Rivers State, Port Harcourt Judicial Division against Prince Uche Secondus and the PDP as Defendants.
“On 10 September 2021, the High Court of Rivers State delivered its judgment in the Suit whereby Prince Uche Secondus was, inter alia, restrained from performing the functions of the office of National Chairman of the PDP.
“An appeal has been filed and entered against the judgment at the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Judicial Division. In addition, an Application on Notice has been filed in which Prince Uche Secondus is seeking, inter alia, the following orders:
“An Order of injunction restraining the Peoples Democratic Party, the 6th Respondent herein, whether by itself, its officers, servants, agents and or representatives from holding or conducting its National Convention scheduled for 30 and 31st October 2021 or any other date, pending the hearing and final determination of this appeal.
“The application has since been served on you and other Respondents in the appeal. Notwithstanding the service of the Application for injunction, it has come to the Notice of our client that the PDP and its officers continue to prepare to hold the National Convention on 30 and 31 October 202
“This letter is intended to draw your attention to the position of the law of Nigeria on this subject as encapsulated in the judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the celebrated case of GOVERNOR OF LAGOS STATE vs. CHIEF EMEKA ODUMEGWU OJUKWU (1986) I NWLR (Part 18) 621 @ 637, in which the court, reviewed various decisions on the point, and approved the following principles as the correct position of the law, that is:
“The rule is well settled …… that where a suit is brought to enjoin certain activities ……of which the defendant has notice, the hands of the defendant are effectually tied pending a hearing and determination even though no restraining order or preliminary injunction be issued…..
The conclusion to be drawn from all the cases is that after a defendant has been notified of the pendency of a suit seeking an injunction against him even though a temporary injunction be not granted, he acts at his peril and subject to the power of the court to restore the status wholly irrespective of the merits as they may be ultimately decided.”
“ The same position was taken by the Court of Appeal in CHIEF ELIAS OKEKE-OBA vs. IKWUKA OKOYE (1994) 8 NWLR (364) 605 @ 617-618, where the court said as follows:
“The general practice is that on application for an order for interlocutory injunction, all activities affecting the res, ….are automatically terminated as a mark of respect to the court before whom the application is pending.…..if..parties to the suit senselessly rush their tortious trespassory activities…in the spacious belief that that would promote their unfounded claims to the res. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Such heedless posture is, to say the least, a fragrant disrespect to the court. It clearly, in my opinion amounts to intransigence for a party against whom an order for injunction is sought to intensify his interference with the res.. The court cannot be hoodwinked by such impropriety of unlawful acts in relation to the res.……Nor can the person in such disrespect be allowed to take advantage of his default and flagrant intransigence.”