Published On: Tue, Dec 12th, 2017

Wike: the new strong man

By Obinna Ezugwu


At exactly 3:59am Sunday morning at the Eagle Square, Abuja, the national anthem played. The elective convention of the Peoples Democratic Party had come to an end with Prince Uche Secondus emerging chairman of the party with a total of 2000 votes after what was a battle of wits, deals and compromises. His closest rival, Prof Tunde Adeniran came distant second with 230 votes, while media mogul, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi got 60 votes. Governor Nyesom Wike, Rivers strong man had shown that what he could do in his state, and in Anambra where he was largely instrumental to the emergence of candidate Oseloka Obaze as the party’s flag bearer for last month’s election in the state, he could also replicate at the national level.

With notable figures like Chief Bode George; Prof Adeniran; former governors: Gbenga Daniels and Rasheed Ladoja and media mogul, Chief Dokpesi, among others initially in contention, few people could have predicted a landslide victory for Secondus, especially given that there had been suggestions that the post be ceded to the South West. But in the end, the party’s governors, notably Wike, proved beyond doubt that they are the new power bloc in town. Against the wishes of some of the party’s founding fathers, including Prof Jerry Gana; Ibrahim Mantu; former head of state, Ibrahim Babangida and even the immediate past president, Goodluck Jonathan who had allegedly favoured the South West bid, the governors not only suceeded in having their way, but did so in grand style.

It was Governor Wike, and to a lesser degree, his Ekiti State counterpart, Ayodele Fayose who hatched the Secondus idea. Wike, for the obvious reason that party’s chairman coming from Rivers State would help strengthen it in the state ahead of what would be a ‘mortal combat’ for the soul of Rivers in 2019, had early enough, began to camapaign for Secondus. Accompanied by the new chairman, the governor made trips to a number of states in the South East and South South in the name of regional integration. His ambition at the outset looked quit impossible, especially with the South West largely tipped to produce the party’s chairman. But he persisted, such that in the run up to the convention, it had become obvious to the neutrals that Secondus was the man. He had managed to subdue the political colossus, Bode George. On Friday, rattled George addressed a press conference berating the governor whom he labelled a little man whose time will soon come to an end. Wike had earlier, in an interview with Channels TV, dismissed South West’s argument for the chairmanship slot as unwarranted. According to him, the zone had not done enough for the party overall. He also insisted that the South South had never produced chairman. Chief George’s attack had been in response to the said interview granted by the governor.

Fayose, on his own part, was always on the same page with the River’s governor.He is eyeing the vice presidential slot which would not be possible if the South West produced the party’s chairman. For this ambition, he actively worked against the interest of the zone in this regard. Even when other aspirants, including Chief George, Daniels, Ladoja and Jimi Agbaje, having realised that the odds were against the zone, decided to step down for Prof Adeniran who happens to come from the same Ekiti, Fayose insisted that he had not consulted him before declaring his intention to contest for the position and even afterwards. He was said to have boasted at the venue that he told the South West contenders to step down, but they refused.

The governors’ efforts began to pay off gradually. Before long, governors Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe and Darious Ishaku of Taraba were brought on board. And Senator Ahmed Makarfi who by the way, had emerged chairman of the National Caretaker Committee (NCC) of the party courtesy of the governors, particularly Wike, was always on the same page with them. It was Markarfi who consistently dismissed the idea of micro-zoning the slot to the South West.

However, it was during the convention that the actual drama took place. Having sufficiently lobbied the delegates- it was alleged that each delegate received $10,000 (about N3.6million)- the governors were said to have initiated a certain unity list of candidates which they circulated to the delegates. It was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Mantu and his group staged a walkout. Adeniran stormed out the venue and called for cancellation of the convention and Dokpesi insisted that the process had been rigged. But despite the outrage, Wike and his men had their way. Dokpesi later accepted the outcome and congratulated the winner, leaving Adeniran with few choices.

When confronted with the allegation of the said list however, chairman of the convention’s organising committee and governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa dismissed it as unfounded. While he admitted that there was indeed a list, maintained it was meant to guide those who could not read or write.

Yet, while allegations of financial inducement were rife, Hon. Jerry Alagboso, member representing Orsu Federal Constituency of Imo State denied such as falsehood. He said he was also a delegate but did not receive any money.

The rancour which characterised the convention was probably not unexpected. In the days leading up to it, there was little to suggest otherwise. Nonetheless,  it has come and gone with Jonathan; former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; former Aviation Minister, Femi-Fani Kayode, among others expressing satisfaction with the outcome and congratulating the winners. But the important question is what next for the aggrieved members, especially in the South West.

“Personally, and because I am from Lagos State and we had put forward our prime leader, Chief Olabode George for the national chairmanship, I will say I am not too happy,” said Mr. Taofeek Gani, spokesperson for the party in Lagos. “But it has come and gone. The prime leader I know will also take it like an elder statesman.

“But what is fundamental and cannot be taken away is that the office (of chairman) should have come to the South West to boost the chances of party in 2019 being the only region that does not have any serious presence in the PDP presently. So, what I will say is that the new managers of the party, particularly the new chairman, should look at making sure that those actions that can boost the chances of the party in the zone are concentrated in the hands of the leaders in the zone. Obviously, nobody is happy in the South West now, apart from those few people who feel that they have had their way. But like I say, PDP is one big family; it is now left for the chairman to concentrate on building up the party in the zone.”

Asked however, whether the zone would welcome the idea of vice presidency, Taofeek said he is not keen on the slot as according to him, it should be left for the South East.

“As it is now, it should be a good consolation since we didn’t get the national chairmanship. But the national chairmanship would have been better. However, we should be looking at the overall PDP arrangement because we are going into the general elections. The South West taking the VP slot might not really produce the result, it does not matter whether the APC has a VP from the zone. Some other positions can be ceded to the zone, for instance the senate presidency. The VP should be left for the South Easterners who are already looking forward to it.”

He expressed confidence that the party had what it takes to win in 2019, and will do so.

Also speaking, a chieftain of the party in Ebonyi State, Chief Abia Onyike expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the convention while faulting the argument that the South West should have produced national chairman. According to him, the interest of the party and Nigeria should be paramount.

“I don’t think anybody would be right to make that kind of argument. That would be parochial in thinking. It was thrown open to candidates from the entire Southern Nigeria. It was an open contest.”

Onyike also insisted that the suggestion about the governors being overbearing was out of place, describing the walk out by the likes of Mantu as democracy at work.

“Is there any party where governors are not powerful?” he queried. “In APC, are they not powerful? In APGA where you have one governor, is he not powerful? You don’t expect the governors who control the resources of the state, who have also been sustaining the party not to be powerful. That have to be the same way that governors are powerful in APC and the president is powerful in APC.”

In an interview on Monday morning, Makarfi agreed that something needed to be done to pacify the South West, even as he said there was no attempt to undermine the zone. He assured that they would eventually get positions that they would cherish even more that the party’s chairmanship as according to him, government is very large.

Also dismissing the suggestion that the PDP would suffer in the South West as a result of not conceding its chairmanship position to the zone, spokesperson for the now disbanded NCC, Mr Dayo Adeyeye said the zone has grown beyond those mundane issues and would look at the bigger picture of the zone’s interest in deciding who to vote for in 2019.

He maintained that the convention was free and largely fair, as according to him, it was the best convention ever in the history of the country.




© 2017, Hallmarknews. All rights reserved. Reference and link to this site is required if you wish to reuse any article.

Reactions from Facebook

comments and opinions

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

  • China offshore oil coy to invest $3bn in Nigeria

    The China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) is to invest an additional three billion dollars in its existing stakes in offshore oil and gas operations in Nigeria. Mr Ndu Ughamadu, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) spokesman said this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja. Ughamadu said Mr Yuan Guangyu, the Chief Executive Officer […]

  • Ecobank risk assets deteriorate as Kie bows out

    By FELIX OLOYEDE The exit of Ecobank Nigeria’s erstwhile Managing Director, Charles Kie, has raised a groundswell of speculation in the financial community as sector analysts believe that his exit was abrupt, untimely and suspicious. Over a period of two years, Kie had succeeded in reversing the banks bedraggled balance sheet and profit and loss […]

  • Blood, blood everywhere: Herdsmen, rustlers on the rampage

    –  Violence, a well-articulated plot to grab land – Expert  By AYOOLA OLAOLUWA Nigeria is gradually descending into a Hobbesian state with the growing killings in the Middle Belt, in addition to the destruction of lives and properties in the North West and Boko Haram insurgency in the North East. Defenseless citizens are being killed like […]

  • 2018 budget in jeopardy

    . Delay alone has reduced performance by 13% – Experts By UCHE CHRIS In all likelihood the 2018 budget will end like the three previous budgets of the President Buhari administration: a failure. Having been passed seven months after its presentation and half year gone; and with all the controversies surrounding its passage by the […]

  • MTN to miss market listing target

    By OKEY ONYENWEAKU A weak domestic economy in Nigeria may force telecommunications giant MTN to shift its earlier proposed August 2018 date for a local listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Analysts believe that the date shift will allow the parties to the Offer plan a more successful listing arrangement that would guaranty full […]

  • APC crises deepens: Amaechi battles for relevance, Modu-Sheriff is new strongman

    By OBINNA EZUGWU Key actors in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) managed to keep up appearance to allow for a smooth transition at the party’s recently held national convention. Except for the exchange of blows among Imo and Delta States delegates, the convention was largely a success. But beneath the facade of orderliness, tensions […]

  • INEC declares Fayemi governor-elect in Ekiti

    The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressive Congress (APC) winner of the Ekiti Governorship Election held on Saturday. INEC’s Chief Returning Officer for the election, Professor Idowu Olayinka declared the result on Sunday. According to the Returning Officer, Kayode got 197,459 votes to defeat the Deputy Governor of […]

  • President Muhammadu Buhari said on Wednesday that Nigeria will soon sign up to a $3 trillion African free-trade agreement. Nigeria is one of Africa’s two largest economies, the other being South Africa. Buhari’s government had refused to join a continental free-trade zone established in March, on the grounds that it wishes to defend its own […]

  • PDP meets Obasanjo for advice on how to beat Buhari in 2019 polls

    The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) will meet with former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta on Saturday to seek advice on how to achieve victory in the 2019 polls and beat incumbent Muhammadu Buhari. The National Chairman of PDP, Uche Secondus, made this known in Abeokuta while addressing journalists after a […]

  • GTBank Launches Social Impact Challenge, Aims to Fund Community Development Projects Nationwide

    Following more than two decades of consistent investment in community development, Guaranty Trust Bank plc is taking its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) another step further by launching a Social Impact Challenge that will fund dozens of innovative ideas designed and executed by members of the general public. Tagged #SimpleChangeBigImpact, the Social Impact Challenge invites individuals […]

  • Akpobome gives indigent girls educational lifeline

    Akpobome gives indigent girl The hope of indigent girls who have been struggling with their education has been rekindled as Mrs. Mary Akpobome, former executive director, Heritage Bank and her husband,  Mr. Atunyota Akpobome, fondly called Alli-Baba have jointly floated The Purple Girl Foundation with the purpose  of helping them live their dreams. Giving reasons […]

  • Buhari’s NLNG signature project back on track

    President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the board, management, staff and shareholders of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas company (NLNG), the NNPC and other Joint Venture partners, Shell, Total and AGIP on the signing of the contracts for the Front End Engineering Design (FFED) of Train 7 of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Project. The President […]

  • Buhari creates unit to snoop on illegal money transfers

    President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit bill (NFIU) 2018 into law, creating a body that will henceforth monitor illegal money transfers and money laundering. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Sen. Ita Enang, confirmed this development while briefing State House correspondents in Abuja on Wednesday. […]

  • NCC wades into MTN’s labour issues

    The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Monday said the organisation has opened talks with critical stakeholders on MTN’s labour issues. Mr Tony Ojobo, NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, made this known in a statement by in Abuja. “NCC under the leadership of Prof. Umar Danbatta has opened talks with other critical stakeholders  through the office of […]

  • Weak purchasing power responsible for slowing inflation rate, says Chukwu

    FELIX OLOYEDE The continuous decelerating inflation rate in the country was largely due to weak purchasing power amongst Nigerians, said Johnson Chukwu, Managing Director, Cowry Asset Management Ltd. Speaking on the theme: “Economy: H1 2018 review and prospect for year end” at the second edition of the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa (BMIA) Cohort 4 quarterly […]

  • Global outrage grows over incessant herdsmen killings

    …there is anarchy in the land – Utomi   By OBINNA EZUGWU The incessant killings in Nigeria by Fulani herdsmen seem to attracting more global attention as U.S. and U.K. have taken the government to task to stop it. During his recent visit to the U.S. by President Buhari, American President Donald had expressed concern […]