And so, Uche Secondus, despite the
hue and cry about heavy monetisation
of the process and alleged plan by
governors under the influence of
Nyesom Wike of Rivers state to hijack the
party leadership, still ended up being the
national chair of the Peoples Democratic
Party (PDP). For a vast majority of PDP
members who crave a new leadership
identity for the party, who believe in
freshness of ideas and the infusion of
new blood in the national executive
committee (NEC) after the very recent
saga that unraveled about the leadership
following the defeat of the party in the
2015 presidential election, Secondus
does not represent that sort of political
revivalism.
He was a member of the old guard and
was, therefore, not qualified to become
national chair of a PDP in serious need
of new direction and gravitas. His
antecedents were not in pari material
with the new ethos of freshness on
which the new leadership of the party
should run. He was acting national chair
of the controversial national working
committee (NWC) that tried to help itself
with party fund when the party was
down and out post 2015 general election.
Besides, against the alleged bazaar into
which the then leadership turned the
nomination process, it becomes difficult
to contemplate and locate a force of
resurgence in Secondus’ individuality.
But, unfortunately, Wike and his
colleagues harboured and nurtured a
different agenda that sustained Secondus’
candidature. They wanted him in the
absence of anyone else that suited their
pre-determined political values and
elitist fancies, and stopped at nothing to
foist him on the party in furtherance of
such parochial considerations. Though,
to be fair to Wike, he did not singlehanded
railroad Secondus into the
leadership of the party. He did so in
concert with the other governors on the
party platform, especially those in the
southern part.
There are arguments out there to justify
the emergence of Secondus from Southsouth
zone despite the notorious fact that
the party had agreed that the position of
national chair be ceded to the Southwest
zone. That was settled at the botched
national conventions sponsored and
hosted in Port-Harcourt by Wike. Even
during the non-elective unity convention
in Abuja said to have been sponsored by
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state,
nothing presented itself to threaten that
consideration.
But in a manner that smacks of political
shenanigans, the Southwest has been
dealt a fatal blow. Bode George’s very
profound reactions have surmised the
depth and pains of the betrayal inflicted
on the Yoruba race and its stock in the
PDP. The truth is that it was not that
the zone did not have good candidates.
The problem was that the absence of
reinforcing political correctness that
should have seen a PDP-controlled state
in the southwest producing the national
chair conspired with other secret desires
to deny the zone the prized position. That
was what worked against candidates
from Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states. There
were no candidates from Ondo and Osun.
Professor Tunde Adeniran from Ekiti, who
could have emerged, in that circumstance,
as a consensus candidate, did not have
the most critical home support. Governor
Fayose had never been on the same page
with him and it was inconceivable how
he was going to break through that wall
of opposition to emerge as national chair.
The argument was that the party
chairman should come from a state
controlled by the party in order for
the occupier of the position to operate
effectively with the support and cover of
the state governor. A national chair from
an APC-controlled state would have been
a disaster as the home state would become
unfriendly and the national chair would be
exposed to the vagaries of political assaults
and attacks from the APC governor of the
state.
The interest of the Southeast is to
produce the vice presidential candidate
and therefore, it did not care a hoot
about producing the national chair. This
encouraged an ambitious Wike to move
in with his proposition to hold down the
position in the South-south; and because
the other PDP governors in the oil-rich
zone were not interested in presenting any
candidate, he was left to cover the entire
field. But I had expected that Wike to
present a fresh candidate from his state like
Elder Felix Obuah instead of an old wine in
a new wine skin.
However, beyond Wike’s enthronement
of Secondus and the motivation behind
it, those who know Secondus speak of his
experience as a party administrator par
excellence. They say that having been
Rivers state chair of the PDP for eight years
from 1999 to 2007 and having earned for
himself the moniker of “Total Chairman”
before he moved to the NEC of the party, it
becomes pretty difficult to discountenance
him in the choice of someone for the
position. There are also talks about solid
friendship, trust and reliability that exist
between him and Wike.
But all those pale into insignificance in
the definition of a bigger picture for the
party in terms of public confidence in
the PDP and the leadership that drives it,
especially now that the party presents
the most viable alternative platform
around which support can be galvanised
for a referendum against the ruling APC.
Can Secondus’ leadership feed that kind
of public sentimentalism?
Except the leadership works as a team,
Secondus may find it difficult to define
his individuality given the peculiarity
of his antecedents and the conditions
that produced him as national chair.
Regardless of the petulance of Secondus’
choice, the new PDP NEC is robust
and will benefit from the moral force
of perhaps one or two persons. If there
is any great thing that has happened
to reinforce the credibility of the NEC
and save it from any scintilla of public
odium on account of Secondus’ past
engagements in the old national working
committee (NWC) of the PDP, it is the
election of Senator Umaru Ibrahim
Tsauri from Katsina state as national
secretary of the party.
What is the reason for my position?
Rewind to 2006. There was an attempt by
the Olusegun Obasanjo administration
to amend the constitution to make a third
term (tenure elongation) possible for
him. Members of the National Assembly
were bribed with N50 million each. As a
journalist covering politics and senate, I
gathered authoritatively that Tsauri was
one senator who rejected the offer. It was
even learnt that that when some powerful
persons in government heard, they
reasoned that what money could not do,
plenty money could do. They increased
the package and he still rejected it. He
was reprimanded for being stubborn.
This speaks volume about his moral
force, his capacity to shun filthy lucre,
and his predilection for good behaviour,
prudence, honesty, accountability and
financial discipline.
I am excited that right in the NEC is a
watchdog whose character, attitude and
disposition to issue of integrity should
put the entire NEC of the PDP on its toes.
The last I heard of Tsauri was in 2007 after
he exited the 5th senate. I read about him
recently when he began his campaign for
the position of national secretary. He
was reported to have promised that PDP
would be rebranded towards 2019, the
year that Buhari would fall in Katsina. I
believe him. Methinks that Tsauri is an
epitome of every good thing, including
courage and conviction. With him in
the NEC, the PDP leadership will be
guided or, if need be, forced to do the
right things, always, and Secondus and
whatever antics he and his promoters
plan to deploy will become secondary.
I expect checkmates. If there are one
or two others like him, then the PDP is
secured.

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