" />
Published On: Wed, Dec 20th, 2017

PDP: The Secondus rebound and the battle for 2019

By OBINNA EZUGWU

He has his job well cut out. Remove President Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) from office in 2019 and herald the return of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to power. He is Uche Secondus, the newly elected chairman of the country’s prime opposition party. He is the president’s new nemesis.

In his inaugural speech in the early hours of December 10, Secondus issued a “quite notice” to Buhari, informing the president to begin to prepare his handover notes. But talk is cheap. The task before him is daunting. And he is probably not unaware of it. He admitted as much in the said speech when he noted that it was a herculean task, but achievable.

“By my understanding, the mandate you have given us today is clear and unambiguous. It is to return our party to power come 2019,” he said. “As herculean as this mandate seems, I know it’s achievable. My campaign pillars for this election are ‘To Rebuild, Reposition and Regain’.

“Let me assure you great members and leaders of our party that by the grace of God and with all hands on deck, the brief tenancy of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Aso Rock Villa expires on May 28, 2019. By this, we serve them a quit notice.”

Secondus has proved to be a fighter. Against the likes of Chief Olabode George, former governors of Ogun and Oyo: Otumba Gbenga Daniels and Rasheed Ladoja as well as media mogul, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi in the PDP chairmanship race, few people could have anticipated a landslide victory for him. Although it would be out of place to give him all the credit having been supported every step of the way by the governor of his state, Rivers, Nyesom Wike and other big wigs such as northern governors, former Akwa Ibom governor, Goodwill Akpabio, Governor Ayodele Fayose among others, he is by no means himself a small fry.

He proved his mettle as the party’s chairman in Rivers between 2002 and 2008 under governor Odili, in the course of which he earned the sobriquet “Total Chairman.” He also headed an influential group in the National Executive Committee known as G.84.

In 2007, he became the South South Zonal Coordinator for the party’s National Campaign Council which organised campaigns for the party during that year’s general elections. The party of course won by a landslide in the presidential election of that year with the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua emerging president. (He would have wished it was Odili who prior to Yar’Adua coming into the picture courtesy of President Olusegun Obasanjo, was widely tipped for the job).

READ  Bongo: No cause for alarm over failed MPC meeting

His tenure as Rivers PDP helmsman ended in 2008, but in that year’s national convention of the party, he moved even further up the ladder. He was elected National Organising Secretary. A position he held until 2012.

Afterwards, he was made pioneer Chairman, Governing Board of the National Identity Management Commission. And on September 1, 2013, he was elected Deputy National Chairman of the PDP. When the party eventually lost in the 2015 presidential election and Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu resigned his position as the party’s chairman, Secondus took up his job in an acting capacity.

But his reign was marred in controversy as the North East insisted it was still their turn to produce chairman to complete Muazu’s term. This culminated in former Borno governor, Ali Modu Sheriff being called upon to lead the party and all the trouble that followed thereafter.

His stint in party politics did not start with the PDP nonetheless. The 62-year-old Andoni born politician began his sojourn in politics as a youth in 1978 preparatory to the second republic. He was subsequently elected as Rivers State Youth Leader of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), the party that took power in 1979 with Alhaji Shehu Shagari emerging president.

The second republic was truncated in 1983 with General Muhammadu Buhari’s military coup. When party politics resumed in 1993, he became Rivers Publicity Secretary of the National Republican Convention (NRC), a post he held till 1998 before joining PDP.

No doubt, Secondus is vastly experienced in party politics. But his new task is not enviable. He is leading a party with an already battered image against the power of incumbency. It is an uphill task that requires all hands on deck. His saving grace would be that even the Buhari administration itself has acquired as much bad image within the three years it has been in power, such that both parties just about balances each other out.

READ  Weah sworn in as Liberia's president

But it seems the new chairman’s first preoccupation will not be as he put it, the “gigantic task of retrieving this country from APC’s clear lack of direction and confusion starting with the Presidency,” but putting the party in order.

His emergence last week has continued to ruffle feathers in the party with the South West geopolitical zone which had hoped it would produce the chairmanship position feeling betrayed. He seems to appreciate this fact and has started well.

When he resumed office at the party’s national headquarters on Monday, he appealed to all those that contested and lost at the convention not to feel bad, as according to him, there was no victor and no vanquished.

“By the special grace of God, elections have come and gone and I declare to you that there is no victor, no vanquished,” he said.

“Our first assignment will be to bring all and sundry together, that is reconciliation. We reassure leaders of our party, especially those who contested this election; we have already started work and by the grace of God, it will be productive.

“We promise to rebuild the party to regain the lost grounds. That will start today. As I walked in through the gate, it was symbolic. I asked that the gate be thrown open.

“I hereby declare the gate to this party open to all our people irrespective of their religious beliefs, their class. They are free to come into the party especially those who left for one reason or the other.”

Earlier on Sunday, he along with Governor Wike reportedly met with Chief George, at his Maitama home, Abuja, where he assured him that he would work with everyone and nobody would feel marginalised in the party.

Chief George was said to have received them warmly and advised them on the way forward. He reportedly criticised Wike for making disparaging comments about the Yoruba, while the governor in turn said he was sorry if anyone felt offended by his comments as he meant no harm.

A good way to start, but the job of sacking Buhari is by no means an easy one.

 

 

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Most Shared

Recent posts

  • FG grants PPAs of 14 solar projects another 6 months extension

    For the second time since 2016, the Federal Government  has extended by another six months, the deadline for the execution of the power purchase agreements (PPAs) it signed with investors for 14 utility solar power projects to be built in some states of the country. According to OGN reports it was reportedly rolled over after […]

  • Dangote Sugar targets 25% sales volumes in 2018

    The acting Managing Director of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Abdullahi Sule, believes the company’s  sales volumes could rise as much as 25 percent in 2018 after last year’s downturn. Nigeria’s economy, which contracted in 2016, is recovering after the government relaxed some currency controls implemented after the price of oil, its main export, crashed in […]

  • Emefiele dismisses fears over MPC meeting, insists economy is strong

    The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, has allayed the fears of Nigerians and the international community over the inability to hold the meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) for January. A statement signed by Emefiele in Abuja on Monday, said that the meeting, which was earlier scheduled for the day […]

  • Nigeria, Angola crude overhang could pressurize Asian crude

    Traders have said that unsold barrels of crude from West Africa could put pressure on the premiums of Malaysian crude cargoes for March loading.   Platts reports that weaker demand, particularly from independent refineries in China, for February-loading Angolan and Nigerian grades has resulted in an overhang, traders said. Traders indicated that these grades were […]

  • NBS: 77.5m Nigerians engage in economic activities in Q3

    The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says 77.55 million people are engaged in economic activities out of a labour force of 85.08 million in the third quarter of 2017. The NBS disclosed this in a “Labour Force Statistics Volume 2: Employment by Sector report for Third Quarter of 2017’’ released by the bureau on Monday […]

  • Lassa fever: Schools reopen in Ebonyi

    Public and private schools in Ebonyi shut on Jan. 18 to check the spread of Lassa fever outbreak in the state have reopened the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports. Prof. John Eke, the Commissioner for Education, told NAN on Monday in Abakaliki, that the schools were reopened as no new case of the disease […]

  • Four major markets in Nigeria need 36.27MW to grow efficiency – REA

    A baseline survey of the energy needs of four of the major markets in Nigeria, which the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) conducted, has indicated that with 36.27 megawatts (MW) of stable electricity provided to them, economic productivity in the markets could expand and bring more prosperity to about 50,900 shop owners there, OGN reports. The […]

  • ALSCON: Nigeria, Russia sign Share Purchase agreement

    Nigeria has signed the Renewed Share Purchase Agreement with Messrs UC Rusal of Russia in respect of the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON). The agreement was signed in in Abuja on Friday by the relevant government stakeholders, including the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi. Present at the ceremony were the […]

  • Slimming drugs: Expert calls for stiff regulation

    Dr Bamidele Iwalokun, a medical researcher with the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) in Yaba, Lagos, has called for stiffer regulation of slimming drugs to safeguard the health of consumers. Iwalokun made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday. He said there was the need […]

  • Derivatives trading: US expert speaks on the pluses and pitfalls

    As part of strategic initiatives to enhance the efficiency of capital market operations in Nigeria, The Nigerian Stock Exchange and Coronation Merchant Bank invited the former Chair of the US Commodities Futures Trading Commission (US CFTC), Mr. James Stone to deliver a special lecture on ‘Pluses and Pitfalls of Derivatives Trading’ at the Nigerian Stock […]

  • Ajimobi: Oyo set to increase institutions subventions

    The Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, has appealed to the striking state-owned higher institutions that his administration is prepared to increase their subventions. The governor said this would be achieved as soon as government’s renewed efforts to improve its revenue-base begin to bear fruits. Ajimobi, who made the appeal while inaugurating the governing councils of […]

  • SEC’s e-dividend free registration ends Feb 28

    The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has extended period for the free e-dividend registration to Feb. 28, to encourage more shareholders participation in the initiative. The commission in a statement obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, indicated that the extension was part of its developmental role. It said that the extension […]

  • Nigerian equities market goes bearish after hitting over nine year high

    FELIX OLOYEDE Profit-taking caused the Nigerian Stock market to go bearish for the first time this week after reaching over nine year high on Wednesday. The All Share Index declined -0.08 per cent to close at 44,848.74 point on Thursday after hitting 44885.24 point the previous day, the highest since September 2008 when it closed […]

  • 2019: Wike gets second term endorsement

    Residents of River state have endorsed the Governor, Nyesom Wike, for another term of four years. They declared their support for the governor when over 15,000 non-indigenes of the state visited the Government House on Wednesday in Port Harcourt, the state capital, Channels TV reports. Wike urged Nigerians irrespective of their linguistic and religious affiliation […]

  • Banks enjoy improved liquidity as overnight rate drops three consecutive days

    FELIX OLOYEDE The redemption of Treasury Bills by Federal Government has helped to improve liquidity in Nigerian banking sector as overnight rate declined three consecutive times this week. Overnight (O/N) rate dropped -0.75 per cent to 5.75 per cent on Thursday, while Open Buy Back (OBB) rate was down -0.92 per cent to 5.25 per […]

  • Lassa fever: Ebonyi Schools proceed on forced break

    Schools in Ebonyi State have been directed to close for a week following the outbreak of Lassa fever in the state. The state government said the directive was given as part of measures to contain the spread of the disease in the state. Commissioner for Health, Umuzuruike Daniel, also confirmed the death of three victims […]