PDP : Uche Secondus Should Hold His Head High

Uche Secondus 

By Inyali Peter 

As the battle for the soul of the People's Democratic Party, PDP continue to dominate political discourse in the country, the embattled former National Chairman, Uche Secondus must not allowed his anger and desperation for personal vendetta push him to deny himself the opportunity to celebrate his accomplishments. 

For Uche Secondus to serve as National Chairman for close to four years despite  PDP's notorious history of not allowing their national Chairmen complete their tenures, he should be grateful that he was able to wither the storm to stay that long. 

The party was founded in August 31, 1998. Within its 21 years of existence, it has produced fourteen National Chairmen in both Acting and Substantive capacities. Amongst the fourteen, only two; Sen. Barnabas Germade and Alhaji Ahmadu Ali who were elected in substantive capacity completed their tenures. 

The first National Chairman of the party, Dr. Alex Ekweme lasted for just three months before he resigned to contest for the party's presidential ticket ahead of the 1999 general elections. He lost the ticket to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who eventually won the 1999 Presidential election.

Ekweme was succeeded by Chief Solomon Lar who also did not complete his tenure. Lar was PDP first substantive Chairman but lasted for just over a year in office. 

After him was Chief Barnabas Germade who incidentally, is one of the only two PDP national Chairmalen till date who have completed their tenures. At the time he was Chairman, PDP constitution spelled out only two years term of office for Chairman. Despite completing his two years tenure, he didn't leave office in his terms. He fought to go for second term but was frustrated out of the race by Obasanjo.

Germade who hails from Benue state was replaced by another Benue politician in Chief Audu Ogbeh. Although, Ogbeh, who was the first Chairman to benefit from the new four years tenure regime stayed long in office, he still didn't complete it.

After him came Ahmadu Ali, a former Military administrator. He served out his tenure between 2005 and 2008. He had interest to seek another tenure but could not as the position was zoned to the South Eastern region of the country. 

Prince Vincent Ogbulafor who was formerly of the The defunct All Nigerian People's Party (ANPP), succeeded Ali and lasted in office for just about two years. He was booted out in 2010. 

Dr. Ezekwesilieze Nwodo also from South East succeeded Ogbulafor but like others, ended his tenure abruptly when an Enugu High Court gave an order stopping him from acting or parading himself as National Chairman of the party. He was served the order while addressing party faithful at the venue of the party's national convention for the election of its presidential candidate for the 2011 elections. 

Dr. Haliru Bello Mohammed took over the reins from Nwodo in acting capacity but left office that same year when he was appointed Minister of Defence by the then President, Goodluck Johnathan. 

With the appointment of Mohammed as Minister, there was a vacuum in the party which was filled by Alhaji Baraje Kawu. Kawu lasted about one year in acting capacity before the party held a national convention that ushered in former Governor of old Gongola State, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as Chairman. 

Tukur was in office for about three years but the crisis that rocked the party leading some of its Governors to defect to the then new party, APC forced him to resign in 2014. He was appointed Chairman of the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) shortly after his resignation. 

Tukur was replaced by another former Governor in Alhaji Adamu Mua'zu. Mua'zu who was code named "Mr Fixed It All" was brought on board to stabilize the party ahead of the 2015 general elections. But this time, the "Mr. Fixed it" could not fix things as he led the party to becoming the first ruling party to lose party to opposition in Africa. 

After failing to fix the party, he honourably resigned his position and membership of the party. He defected shortly after that to the ruling APC, leading many to insinuate that he betrayed the party in 2015.

After his resignation, his vacant position was occupied by his deputy, Prince Uche Secondus. Secondus lasted for about five months but was removed by an Abuja High Court. Some aggrieved PDP members had approached the court to sack Secondus for staying beyond the initial three months approved for him by the party. 

The PDP appointed former Governor of Borno State, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff as the new National Chairman after the ousting of Secondus. But his tenure was full of crisis as the party replaced him with Sen. Ahmed Makarfi just three months after. Sherif divided the party into factions and fought to retain full control up to Supreme Court but was defeated by the Makarfi's faction which had the support of PDP Governors. 

Makarfi, also a former Governor of Kaduna State was in office as PDP National Caretaker Committee Chairman until December 2017, when Rivers State Governor, Nysom Wike engineered the second coming of Secondus during the first National Convention of the party held in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. 

Secondus emergence was controversial being that PDP, before the convention had zoned the position to South West. The last PDP President was from South South so, stakeholders in the party, in their wisdom zoned the position to West which was the only region in the South yet to produce a National Chairman. 

But Wike who is touted as one of the major financiers of the party since its lost power insisted that it must be Secondus or nobody. He eventually got his way and everything seemed well between the dou until late last year when they started the battle for the soul of the party. The crisis between the two Rivers State born politicians snowballed into another legal tussle, with Wike having the last laugh. 

In August, a federal High Court sitting in Rivers State granted an interim order stopping Secondus from parading himself or acting as Chairman. But Secondus fought back by getting a judgment from Kebbi High Court reinstating him. But his joy didn't last long before another High Court sitting in Calabar, Cross River State granted another order sacking him. 

A day later, in August 26 precisely, the PDP National Working Committee and Board of Trustees granted a ceal of approval for his sack when they ratified the appointment of Elder Yemi Akinwonmi as Acting National Chairman of the party. 

Dissatisfied by the development, Secondus approached the Appeal Court sitting in Port Harcourt to stop the PDP national convention billed for November 30th (today) and 31st but he lost again. The ex-Chairman has however promised to proceed to the Supreme Court to challenge the legality of his sack as well as nullify PDP convention. 

However, no matter how things have turned out, Secondus has every reason to celebrate and hold his head high because he has entered the history books as one of the longest serving PDP national Chairmen ever.

Whether he wins in Supreme Court or not, he has written his name in gold and will forever be talked about as the Chairman who stabilized the PDP after the party lost power in 2015. So, rather than squander his personal resources in fighting people who are using government funds to fight him, he needs to retire back, dust his things and move on.

In the past four years or so, Secondus has been the face of opposition politics in Nigeria and that alone should make him proud of himself going forward! 
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