A fresh crisis is brewing in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the position of the National Secretary of the main opposition party.
The Eaglesforesight reports that the position of the PDP scribe is now the subject of a tussle between Senator Sam Anyanwu and Sunday Ude-Okoye.
Anyanwu, the substantive occupant of the post stepped aside last year to become the governorship candidate of the party in the November 11, 2023 Imo State election.
However, he did not submit a letter resigning from the national secretary post before emerging as the party’s governorship candidate in Imo.
While Anyanwu was pressing on with his governorship race, the PDP South East Zonal Executive resolved to nominate Ude-Okoye, a former National Youth Leader of the party, to replace him as the national secretary.
The Zonal Executive committee had argued that it would be a distraction for Anyanwu to retain his position as party secretary at a time when he was the party’s Imo State governorship candidate.
The party’s Board of Trustees last week fired a letter to its Acting National Chairman demanding the recognition of Ude-Okoye as National Secretary as ordered by the court.
The position of the BOT has also received the endorsement of one of the party’s governors, Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, who declared that he stood by the BOT on the issue.
The governor declared in a letter that it was desperation for anyone to “hold on to two things at the same time.”
Recall that Ude-Okoye subsequently dragged the PDP before a Federal High Court in Enugu, which, in October last year, ordered the party to recognize him as the party’s national secretary.
The PDP NWC countered this in a motion filed on October 24, 2023, asking the court to set aside the order, noting that “it was obtained by fraud and suppression of material facts” while also faulting the order for not being specific as to what position Udeh-Okoye should fill.
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Earlier this month, Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja declared Anyanwu as the valid national secretary of the PDP.
The judge also restrained the national leadership of the PDP from appointing any person as acting national secretary until the completion of Anyanwu’s four-year tenure on December 9, 2025, as enshrined in the party’s constitution.
BoT letter to party chairman
The BoT, led by its acting chairman and former Senate president, Adolphus Wabara, has now written to the NWC led by acting National Chairman Umar Iliya Damagun, warning about the consequences of not recognizing Ude-Okoye as earlier ordered by the court.
In the letter dated 11 January 2024, also copied to all 13 state governors elected under the PDP, the BoT chairman pointed out that Ude-Okoye was already in court before Anyanwu filed his case in another court with coordinated jurisdiction in a way the board described as a classic case of abuse of court process.
It pointed out that the judgment given by the Abuja court did not nullify the one given by the Enugu State High Court, as only a higher court could override it.
The BoT warned that given the Plateau State experience where the PDP elected members of the state and national Assemblies were removed because they were not validly nominated, the party may face a similar challenge if the wrong person is allowed to sign the nomination documents in the coming bye-elections.
Makinde’s Response To Letter
In his reaction to Wabara’s letter, Oyo state governor, Seyi Makinde expressed his “deepest gratitude” to the BOT of the party “for standing up for equity, justice, fairness and the interest of the party as it relates to the matter in question.”
Makinde, in his letter dated January 15, 2024, addressed to Wabara, stated that he agreed “with the advice and the stand of the Board of Trustees on this issue.”