By Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
There was drama in the Port Harcourt Division of Court of Appeal on Monday as the National Working Committee, NWC of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP applied to take over the cases filed against opposition parties by the Rivers chapter of the party.
In a letter read out in court, PDP NWC asked Emmanuel Ukala, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria hired by the Rivers chapter of PDP to allow another lawyer it hired identified as Johnson Usman to take over the appeal it filed against verdicts of the lower court in its suits against the Accord and Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Similarly, the PDP NWC also asked Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, to hands off from further representation in an appeal against the All Progressives Congress, APC, National Assembly Candidates by the Rivers chapter of the party.
None of the counsels in court opposed the decision of the decision of PDP NWC.
Therefore, the three-man appeal panel led by Justice Joseph Ikyegh granted the request and adjourned the till 3rd of February 2023 following a request by the new PDP counsel.
Counsel to the Accord, Muhammad Abdullahi expressed the readiness of the party to meet the PDP in Court.
The new counsel of PDP, Johnson Usman confirmed that he has been instructed by the national legal Adviser of PDP to take over the appeals, which is the reason for applying for short, adjourned date.
It was believed that the development was another fallout of the standoff between Governor Nyesom Wike and National Leadership of PDP ahead of the forthcoming elections.
Wike has refused to support Atiku Abubakar, the party’s presidential candidate over continued stay in office of Iyorcha Ayu as the chairman of PDP. The Rivers State Governor is leading five governors of PDP popularly known as G5 who had held back support for presidential ambition of Atiku over continued stay of Ayu in office.
Atiku and Ayu are from the Northern part of the country. But the G5 Governors want Ayu to step down from the chairmanship position for a Southerner in accordance with rotation principle of the party.
Atiku Abubakar, Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, (left),
Governor Nyesom Wike.