Controversy over whether or the National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, should continue in office, has torn the party apart ahead of the 2023 election.
This even as four members of the National Working Committee, NWC, were said to be contemplating resignation, yesterday like seven deputy national officers, who resigned on Tuesday over Secondus’ alleged poor leadership.
Those said to be considering quitting their positions include Senator Ibrahim Tsauri, National Secretary; Senator Sulaiman Nazif, Deputy National Chairman (North); Sunday Ude-Okoye, National Youth leader, and Adamu Mustapha, national auditor of the PDP.
One of the national officers who tendered his resignation earlier in the week told Vanguard that having exhausted their patience, “the secretary, youth leader, auditor and deputy national chairman will walk away from their positions because they have come to realise that indeed, the national chairman has nothing to offer the party going forward.”
While noting that the embattled chairman is “living in delusion because of the support of a handful of governors,” he called on the state chief executives to keep personal relationship aside and save the party from further implosion, Vanguard reported.
According to him, PDP governors are split over Secondus’ fate.
“Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa) are really convinced that the PDP would struggle to record electoral success in 2023 if Secondus is allowed to stay in charge of the affairs of the PDP,” he said.
“I can tell you today that they will be happy to see the chairman take the honourable step of resigning to enable the party prepare for the next election cycle on a clean slate.”
Although, some governors elected on the party’s platform have taken the boldness to pitch their tent where they think the interest of the party will be well protected; same cannot be said of Governors Aminu Tambuwal, Udom Emmanuel and Samuel Ortom of Sokoto, Akwa Ibom and Benue states respectively, who are gathered to be sitting on the fence.
They are yet to decide whether to jump out of the Secondus’ ship or stay put, hoping that things will turn around.Although, these are testy times for Secondus, a good number of governors still believe in his leadership of the party.
Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta) Douye Diri (Bayelsa), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Darius Ishaku (Taraba) and Bala Mohammed of Bauchi states remain pro-Secondus even as those desirous of seeing him quit are determined to go about their mission nonetheless.
The pro-Secondus group also got a strong pillar of support yesterday in Senator Seriake Dickson (PDP, Bayelsa West), who apart from kicking against the plot to have a national caretaker committee in place, paid the chairman a solidarity visit at the Wadata Plaza, national secretariat of the PDP.
Meanwhile, Secondus, yesterday, accused an unnamed PDP chieftain of moves to dent his image so as to pave way for him to hijack the structures of the party.
The PDP boss, speaking through his Media Adviser, Ike Abonyi asked: “Why the recent disquiet in the PDP a few months to the national convention and why is somebody rooting for a caretaker committee to run the affairs of the party?”
“The media office of the national chairman is privy to an intelligence that the strong party chieftain bent on hijacking the party structure for destruction is still on the loose with the main agenda of denting the image of Prince Uche Secondus.
“Reports reaching this office show clearly that this character is deploying all devious means to try and diminish the person and character of the national chairman with a view to having his way of ultimately hijacking the structure for his disproportionately large ambition.
“We therefore wish to alert the general public particularly media houses and party stakeholders to look out for strange deployment of luring gifts from this destructive ‘Father Christmas’ all aimed at having a grip on the soul of our party by having a caretaker commit-tee.
“What continues to shock many party observers is the real reason behind the desperation of this man to get at the national chairman and the quantum of public funds being expended to achieve this illicit goal few months to the national convention.”
Attempt to hijack party four months to convention ‘ll lead to implosion — Dickson
Backing Secondus to remain in office, Senator Seriake Dickson warned that attempts by some people to hijack the party will lead to implosion, adding that the party cannot afford the grave danger of a caretaker committee.
According to Dickson, the PDP should learn from the challenge the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC has found itself with the appointment of a caretaker committee which he said was still unfolding, adding that with only four months to the end of the tenure of Prince Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee, it does not make sense to either push for and force a resignation or call for the appointment of a caretaker committee on a party with officers who have a constitutionally guaranteed tenure.
Dickson, who noted that some members of the NWC resigned on Tuesday, said that the PDP should thank them for their services if their throwing in the towel was for good, but if on the contrary it was designed to destroy the party, the act and those behind it should be lampooned in all its ramifications.
He, however, cautioned the masterminds of the crisis not to leave any opening to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to exploit with their control of the resources and machinery of government.
In a statement yesterday in Abuja, Senator Dickson who was chairman of the PDP Reconciliation Committee from 2013 to 2020 and chairman, PDP Governors’ Forum, however said that if there is any member of the NWC who wants to resign, he or she should consider the overall interest of the party and have a rethink, adding that if such a person insists, the party should, in line with the constitution, make appropriate consultations at the state and zonal levels to replace the NWC member that have resigned.
According to him, as part of the way forward, the PDP should as a matter of urgency, convene an emergency National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting that will take appropriate decisions to stabilize the party.
The statement read in part: “We have observed for some time the growing tension, recriminations and outright attack on the National Chairman and members of the National Working Committee by some leaders of the party.
“One has refrained from making statements because we believe that the party has internal mechanisms and levels of leadership that will handle it and I was in fact aware that BOT members, governors and other elders, reconciliation committee, collectively and individually, have been making efforts to resolve some of these disputes and challenges affecting the stability of the party.
“As we are all aware, some officers of our party, resigned yesterday and we should thank them for their services but if their resignation is aimed at causing crisis in the party then we should all condemn it and those behind it.
“By the party’s constitution the appropriate authority, the NWC, is empowered to make replacements. I therefore call on the National Chairman and other members of the NWC in accordance with the constitution of the party to immediately make appropriate consultations from the states and zones from which these officers have resigned and forthwith, make those replacements subject to ratification by the NEC.
“An emergency NEC meeting should be convened which should take appropriate decisions to stabilize the party.
And if there is any member of the working committee who wants to resign, such a person should consider the overall interest of the party and have a rethink.
If however, any NWC members goes ahead to resign, the resignation should be accepted and consultations be made by the Chairman and NWC to fill those positions as temporary vacancies subject to ratification.”“I call on our governors to close ranks and stop the unnecessary battles among themselves, support one another and work with other leaders to strengthen and support the party, rather than weakening it.
I am of the view that governors should be supported in their respective states and the party at the national level should not over- ride their decisions and judgments but to guide and advise when necessary.”
No hand in Secondus’ ordeal — Atiku
Meanwhile, former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, yesterday dismissed speculations that his recent meeting with Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State in Port Harcourt fuelled calls for the removal of Prince Uche Secondus.
Atiku who stated this through his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, said he is only interested in peace and stability of the PDP, and not what will endanger the interest of the party.
“It is a beer parlour talk, it is also mischievous. Why will a former Vice President be behind the plot to sack PDP national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus? What will be his interest?
“This is someone who has commenced the process of having conversations with stakeholders of the party on reconciliation, a man who has encouraged processes aimed at ensuring peace and stability in the party.“The trip he made to Port Harcourt came after the one in Delta. And he has more in the offing.
Why will he promote peace and stability in the party and be behind moves to sack Secondus? It’s ridiculous for anyone to talk about this.“Atiku understands the Constitution of the PDP and what the party says about tenure for party leadership.
So he cannot be working against something that he understands and promotes.”
Secondus meets aggrieved party officers, sue for peace
Meanwhile, Secondus, yesterday, met with the aggrieved deputy national officers who resigned their positions earlier in the week and appealed for calm.
Seven deputy national officers had on Tuesday resigned their appointments.
The officers are: Diran Odeyemi, Deputy National Publicity Secretary; Ahmed Bello, Deputy National Legal Adviser; Umoru Hadizat, Deputy National Women Leader; Divine Amina Arong, Deputy National Auditor; Hassan Yakubu, Deputy National Organizing Secretary; and Irona Alphonsus, deputy National Financial Secretary.The officers, who cited “bad treatment” exhibited by the party National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, since the election that brought the current leadership of the party to power in 2017, also alleged that there is a lack of financial transparency in the leadership.
Secondus appealed to the national officers to sheathe their swords, adding that life of the National Working Committee, NWC, led by him will end in the next four months.
A source at the meeting, which was held at the party’s national secretariat, told our correspondent that some of the aggrieved members, promised to continue in office.
According to the source, Secondus told the aggrieved national officers that “we started together and there is the need to end together in peace.”
In their meeting on Tuesday night, Vanguard gathered that the NWC members, who met with party stakeholders and some Board of Trustees members, resolved to go back to their constituents to find ways of resolving the impasse.
Crisis worsens as Joy Emordi defects to APC
The crisis in PDP worsened as Senator Joy Emordi, a member of the party’s Board of Trustees, BOT dumped the party for the ruling APC, barely 24 hours after seven members of the NWC resigned their positions.
Emordi represented Anambra North when she was in the Senate.
Mamman Mohammed, spokesperson of the APC caretaker committee chairman, and governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni , in a statement, confirmed the exit of Emordi from the PDP to the ruling party, yesterday.
Ms Emordi reportedly said she left the PDP because she is convinced that the “future of a prosperous and united Nigeria lies in the APC”, whose leadership she described as sincere and genuine in its commitment to a united Nigeria.
Buni said he was delighted about the decision of Ms Emordi and other politicians from the South East to join the ruling party.
He acknowledged the defection as a strong move to have to national cohesion.
“There is a need for us to join hands for the political stability and national unity of our dear country.
“The South-East is a strong political block and very crucial to the unity of the country.
This will, no doubt, add to national cohesion,” the APC interim chairman said.