After the convention ended (2)
By Anthony Opara
It can be concluded that Governor Wike of Rivers State and Ayo Fayose of Ekiti were the two men whose political machines delivered the new executive of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP now being led by Chief Uche Secundus, who is described as a consummate grass roots politician.
However there were many in the party who felt that the post of Chairman of the Party should have been reserved for the South West in order to give him a stakeholding in the party given that it was Senator Tinubu’s political stratagem that delivered the Presidency to Buhari in 2015 and that in order to keep them in the party someone from the political division should have been allowed to be Chairman. Political commentator Charles Chukwuemeka said this was the best strategy for the PDP given that they want a northerner to confront Buhari in 2019 to give the party a fighting chance in the election. Perhaps it was in pursuit of this strategy that someone like Chief Bode George threw his hat in the contest and when he lost was very bitter> it appeared that High Chief Raymond Dopkesi also counted on the party toeing this line but lost out in an election described as free and fair in spite of the few snags.
With the emergence of Chief Secondus the party elders met and decided that every attempt should be made not to alienate the losers in the election so a reconciliation was immediately empanelled to meet with those who lost and placate them and make it their worthwhile to remain in the party. Whilst this effort was ongoing an aggrieved group formed a paralleled group called Fresh PDP. To give teeth to their resolution to dismember the PDP they opened an office in Abuja. This is even as one of the candidates in the election Professor Taoheed Adedoja announced his decision to challenge the election of Chief Uche Secondus in court saying that the exclusion of his name from the ballot paper was deliberate. He made good his threat when he filed an action at a Federal High Court in Abuja asking the court to declare the election of the National Chairman of the party held at the Eagles Square on December 9th null and void. The Professor of Special Education stated in his writ that the exclusion of his name from the ballot was a flagrant violation of the constitution of the party as well as the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The PDP was rattled by the legal challenge that they decided to reach out to the former Minister of Sports and Youth development with the Chairman of the Post Election Reconciliation Committee and Bayelsa Governor Seriake Dickson stating that the issue would be handled as one united family. While the efforts are ongoing to pacify the aggrieved members of the party especially those who lost out in the election the greater challenge appear to come from those who have established a faction of the party by opening an office in Abuja. This group has called on members of the party not to recognize the Uche Secundus National executive saying that they would inaugurate an authentic National Working Committee of the party and ‘commence full computerization of party activities and financial transactions after the Christmas holidays. This group is led by Chief Olusola Akindele, Chief Godwin Duru, Franklyne Edede, Prince Obi Nwosu and Alhaji Hassan Adamu.
Political analysts insist that the factionalization of the party portends grave danger for the party especially given the intention to return to power by defeating the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 election. It appears that the NWC of the Secundus led administration understands the situation and are therefore making efforts to reach out to all aggrieved members of the party and bring them under one big PDP umbrella. Members from the South West insist that the Rivers Governors must apologize to the zone for what they termed his reckless statement to the effect that the zone was undeserving of the position of the Chairman of the party, a statement that was alleged to have led to the withdrawal of Chief George from the race. However a notable Thisday columnist, in a back page comment, has dismissed Chief George as a paper weight politician who has never won his immediate locality on the Lagos island even when his political godfather Chief Obasanjo was President and unleashed the full power at his command to the benefit of the party stating that a man who cannot win his locality cannot pretend to lead his national at a national level. He urged the PDP to ignore Chief George as a man who is politically irrelevant and cannot add to the fortunes of any party or words to that effect.
What should concern the PDP now is how to bring everybody under the umbrella together, given the desire to wrest power back from the APC. Former President Dr Goodluck Jonathan said that the desire to return the party to winning ways keeps him awake adding that he handed over a prosperous party to the APC and was embarrassed at the level of suffering imposed on Nigerians by high levels of mismanagement and incompetence displayed by the APC. He urged his party to put the past behind them and unite to take back power from the APC. The Secundus executive has its job cut out for them which is reorganize the party at all levels and end the practice of imposing candidates on the party.
The National Chairman had already pledged that under his watch no candidate would be imposed on the party and that level playing ground would be provided for all members of the party. The Ekiti Gubernatorial election coming up next year would be used to test the resolve of the party. If the party can survive the current crisis then there is hope that the party would not only provide strong opposition but stands a chance of wresting power from the APC especially given the low performance this far and failure to fulfill election promises by the APC.
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State