Indications have emerged that Governor Nyesom Wike has successfully installed his candidate, Uche Secondus as PDP National Chairman at the party’s convention, which took place in Abuja last Saturday (9th December). Reports alleged that the Governor spent a minimum sum of 15b Naira to sponsor the convention. The Governor is also reported to have bought up almost everybody of influence in the PDP.
The recent outbursts of former military President, Ibrahim Babangida, Chief Bode George, Ebenezer Babatope and other stakeholders especially from the South West against the PDP National Caretaker Committee Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi is connected to the fact that Governor Wike single handedly funded the Convention with a whopping sum of 15.5b Naira.
This is aside the offers he allegedly made and influenced members of the party including it’s National Caretaker Committee Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi who recently picked up 2.5b Naira cash and a multi billion Naira contract alongside 3 other important members of the Committee who also got at least 500m each from the Rivers Governor.
Before the last Saturday’s Convention, the Governor was also said to have reminded the party stakeholders how he allegedly spent over 7billion Naira in securing judgment for the Senator Makarfi’s faction of the party against Senantor Modu Sheriff at the Supreme Court.
Having demonstrated his seriousness in securing the party’s top post, Governor Wike, thirdeyes247 learnt, gave each Northern PDP State Chairman 5m Naira each and allegedly made available $10,000 for each delegate who voted his candidate, Uche Secondus.
The Governor, who is derisively referred to as ‘The Port Harcourt ATM’ by the PDP top stakeholders on account of his huge financial inducement left no stone un-turned in acquiring the PDP ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The Governor had earlier promised to support Atiku Abubakar’s Presidential ambition but later appeared to be backing down on his promise, prompting a surprising visit from former President Goodluck Jonathan who is one of Atiku’s strongest backers. Governor Wike has a reputation of heavy financial inducements, his name had cropped up at every bribery saga since 2015. He was caught on tape compromising and threatening INEC officials who were in the state to conduct the several re-run elections held recently.
Meanwhile back home in Rivers State, the government is owing a lot of backlog in arrears and pensions including over 24 and 7 months owed staff of Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency and GPH Agency respectively. The Governor is also known for embarking on low-value projects spiced up with massive media coverage. As it stands now, it will take a miracle for anybody in the party to meet Wike’s huge financial war chest.
However, at last minute miracle, Prince Uche Secondus emerged the winner in the contest for the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He contested with Chief Bode George, Mr. Aderemi Olusegun. Prof Tahoed Adedoja, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi and Professor Tunde Adeniran. Uche Secondus’s victory has left two other candidates for the post, Chief Raymond Dokpesi and Prof. Tunde Adeniran, protesting.
Secondus emerged officially as the PDP National Chairman at the party’s national convention held at the Eagle Square, Abuja, after sorting and counting of votes and votes count, the two separately declared their rejection on the basis of the alleged circulation of a Unity List among the delegates.
They made their submissions just as delegates finished voting even before the votes were collated. Dokpesi while interacting with newsmen said; “the process of voting had been rigged, following the distribution of a unity list containing names of candidates believed to have won elections into various national leadership positions in the party”, he said.
He said complaints were lodged with the chairman of the PDP Electoral Committee Chairman, His Excellency, Gabriel Suswan who confirmed that he had seen the list with some delegates but that he was overwhelmed.
Similarly, Adeniran called for the cancellation of the entire exercise even he openly accused Governor Nyesom Wike of having foisted the Unity List on delegates. “We reject the entire electoral process. The election has been grossly compromised to achieve a predetermined end. The illegal Unity List is prepared by Governors Nyesom Wike and Ayodele Fayose and the duo foisted the entire delegates” Mr. Taiwo Akeju, Director, Media and Publicity of the Adeniran Campaign said after the declaration of the result.
Meanwhile, the assertion by officials of the PDP about restoration of internal democracy ahead of the 2019 round of elections were interpreted to be derailing as the former ruling party lapsed into the old way of forging a consensus in the enthronement of its leadership.
Even before the convention opened on last Saturday morning, a Unity List of delegates, forged between the party’s 11 governors and power brokers, was circulated with Secondus, a former Acting National Chairman, prevailing as the consensus candidate for National Chairman position. His emergence followed the disunity in the ranks of the South-West caucus, which despite the support and entreaties from northern elders on the party, were unable to produce a consensus candidate from their ranks until the voting commenced.
Before the election, three of the seven South-West candidates, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Senator Rasheed Ladoja and Mr. Jimi Agbaje, announced their pulling out of the contest.
The pulling out of the trio, with the earlier unceremonious exit of Chief Bode George, meant that only Prof. Tunde Adeniran, who had the backing of many northern delegates, could compete. However, by the time the announcements were made, the deals to push Secondus had been sealed and many of the northern delegates supportive of a South-West Chairman had given up on the region.
That was not all for the only main stumbling block which was later rolled out of Secondus way was Dr. Raymond Dokpesi from the South-South. Like Secondus, who, again, even before the convention started, reiterated that he would take the battle to the convention ground as “it was up to the delegates to decide on who would be the Chairman”.
There was, however, despair among some party chieftains that the decision to push through the Unity List could puncture the boisterousness that was seen among party chieftains hungry to forge unity to prosecute the 2019 presidential election. The conspicuous absence of some party chieftains raised issues. Among those absent were some of the leading promoters of Adeniran, notably Senator Ibrahim Mantu.
However, expectations of rancour among the Anambra delegations were put aside as PDP chieftains, who allegedly worked at cross purposes, sat comfortably indeed excitedly with the party’s defeated candidate in the Anambra State governorship election, Mr. Oseloka Obaze. Sitting with Obaze were Chief Chris Uba, Chief Olisa Metuh among others.
The convention provided an opportunity for delegates to chide ‘internal enemies’ like Senator Buruji Kashamu who, following his one month suspension by the just dissolved National Working Committee, NWC, was chased away from the Ogun State pavilion.
His efforts to find succour at the Osun and Ondo pavilions were of little effort as he was forced to drive out of the convention ground. Kashamu has, however, declared his suspension illegal and of no effect.
Despite claims that the convention ground would not be turned into a campaign ground for 2019 presidential aspirants, there were events to the contrary as supporters of many of the party’s contenders used the opportunity to market their principals.
A big banner proclaiming Governor Ayo Fayose was laid on the floor in front of the Ekiti pavilion, while drummers canvassing the aspiration of contenders, including Alhaji Sule Lamido, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, moved around the convention ground.