By Suleiman Yakubu


Uche Secondus, National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

In my personal dictionary, Secondus simply means somebody that should come second, the runner up and never the winner as we saw in the recently concluded Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chairmanship contention. Please don’t ask how I arrived at that definition, for a man’s name has a lot to do with his destiny; but that is another story for another day.

Now the question is, how did Secondus emerge as PDP Chairman? And what did his emergence mean for his party? Prior to the election, there were lots of allegations out of the frustration that the process was seriously monetized, including the claim that some governors with the chief support of Nyesom Wike of Rivers State planned to commandeer the party leadership through Secondus as its national chairman. If this were the case, it simply means that PDP had not learnt its lesson.

The party still hasn’t understood that Nigerians are tired of their manipulations and corrupt practices. Most importantly, they haven’t learnt to play fair and transparently, according to the rules of democracy, in their internal affairs. They should have known that it was their lack of internal democracy that has often left them saddled with candidates that lacked integrity and appropriate credentials during general elections. Therefore, you find the party using every tactics, mostly unfair and questionable, to ensure that its candidates win at the polls.

The PDP must realize that Nigerians are even wiser than they were in 2015 when they refused to tag along with their manipulations and insisted on ‘change’ which saw the election of Buhari as President.

I say this without fear of contradiction because what the PDP really needs at this point of its existence is a new leadership identity for the party. It is obvious that their old way of doing things is no longer effective considering their woeful outing in the last general elections. Needless to say, but Secondus is very far from fresh or new for he is very much part of the old brigade. He was one time Rivers State chairman of the PDP for eight years from 1999 to 2007 and later acting national chairman of the party.

However, Governor wike, Secondus’ chief sponsor and many of his supporters were fast to point out that he is a superb party administrator owning to his past performances. But be that as it may, the emergence of Secondus may serve to further widen the differences within the party rather than be a unifying factor. Uche Secondus emerged National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after defeating three other aspirants with over 2000 votes. They are Prof. Tunde Adeniran who polled 230 votes, Raymond Dokpesi with 66 votes, and Taoheed Adedoja who had no vote. If you recall, Raymond Dokpesi and Prof. Tunde Adeniran walked out of the convention ground rejecting the results. They therefore called for its cancellation, alleging bribery of delegates and irregularities which they said made the process unfair.

Another reason for the acrimony at the emergence of Secondus as party chairman is the fact that he is from the South-south zone while the party had earlier agreed that the position be ceded to the Southwest zone at the botched national conventions sponsored and hosted in Port-Harcourt by Wike. The development was viewed by party leaders from the Southwest as an agonizing act of betrayal. In fact, this was the reason why Chief Bode George who is a member of PDP Board of Trustees and former deputy National chairman of the party pulled out of the race and called it a charade.

Expectedly, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and the newly elected National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, visited Chief Bode George at his Maitama home in Abuja, to try and mend fences. This is imperative because the party requires all the support it can muster from members and leaders to succeed.

But the question remains, is Secondus the man to revive the PDP and reposition it to defeat the ruling party, the formidable APC, with its army of fanatical supporters?