“All humans make mistakes. But there is no room or allowance in the fevered world of conspiracy theorists for mistakes, human errors, anomalies and plain incompetence.”
By Omoniyi Salaudeen
The raging storm against the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, appears to be gradually simmering, courtesy of the trouble-shooting efforts spearheaded by the Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, and the two-month reprieve period that followed.
This past week, some concerned members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, House of Representatives caucus as well as aggrieved youths under the aegis of Save PDP Group had combined forces to push for a change of guard, citing ineptitude of the present leadership as the reason for a mass exodus of members of the party to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
In addition to that, they also accused the embattled chairman of skewing party congresses to favour his personal future ambition and inability to come up with a blueprint of sustainable action plan to lead the party to victory in the next general elections.
A communique issued by the House of Representatives Caucus led by its Chairman, Hon. Kingsley Chinda and Deputy Chairman, Hon. Chukwuka Onyema reads in part: “Members of the House of Representatives caucus met and deliberated extensively on various aspects of concern being expressed by members of the party across the federation, specifically on the current charge of inept leadership against our chairman (Prince Uche Secondus) and honourable members note as follows: ‘whereas members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and millions of Nigerians nationwide anticipate vigorous and well coordinated issue-based national opposition; preparation towards a national convention as well as the 2023 general election, much confusion, finger-pointing and needless noise around the party’s national headquarters have obfuscated the noble objectives and lofty ideals of the PDP and democratic opposition politics in Nigeria.’
“To many, the National Chairman seems much more contented with occupying the office and, therefore, preoccupied with holding on to his position rather than preparing for next elections.”
The accusations climaxed, precipitating the resignation of six members of the NWC, presumably to create enough justification for a total dissolution of Secondus-led leadership. Beyond that, there are also some powerful bigwigs like the no-nonsense Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, who blamed the dwindling fortune of the party on gross mismanagement and general loss of confidence of members in the leadership.
Wike, as the major financier of the party, had single-handedly propped up Secondus for the chairmanship position. But under his watch, the PDP lost three of its governors, namely Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, Ben Ayade (Cross River State) and Bello Matawalle (Zamfara State), while scores of senators as well as House of Representatives members in one quick succession left for the APC.
And by so doing, he has wittingly walked himself into trouble by waking up an army of opposition against his alleged plan to seek re-election.
Learning from experience, even a political neophyte who is conversant with the seasonal wind of defection that usually characterizes the politics of a major election would have prepared for it to forestall a repeat of the 2014 scenario, when some recalcitrant governors revolted against alleged high-handedness of Bamanga Tukur and dumped the PDP.
All it means is that no lesson has been learnt; otherwise, Secondus ought to have been more circumspect, especially knowing the terrain and sensitivity of his office and the proverbial banana peels.
From available records, not one out of the nine past national chairmen of the party had the opportunity to serve out their full tenure. Only Chief Audu Ogbeh nearly completed his four-year tenure before he was eventually forced out in a controversial circumstance due to the Anambra State party crisis which former President Olusegun Obasanjo believed was not well handled.
Vincent Ogbulafor, Kawu Baraje, Bamanga Tukur barely managed to spend two years, while Dr Okwesileze Nwodo and Dr Haliru Muhammed served for one year each.
For surviving the latest plot against his office, Secondus owes a former governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Seriake Dickson, a debt of gratitude for standing by him, insisting on adherence to the constitution of the party for him not to be stampeded to resign.
For so long as the two months grace allowed by the stakeholders for preparation for the national convention lasts, he can continue to savour the peace of the graveyard pervading the party. But on the whole, the future of his political ambition is full of dark foreboding.
As a seasoned politician with an experience spanning over three decades, Secondus has seen it all. From General Babangida military supervised transition programme to the advent of the present political dispensation, he has served in various capacities as Rivers State Publicity Secretary, National Republican Convention (NRC) 1993-1998, two-term chairman of Rivers State PDP 2002-2008, South-South Coordinator for the PDP National Campaign Counci 2007, among others.
It is expected that he would use his experience to wriggle out of his current political quagmire.