That the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is in crisis is a known fact, as Nigerians, for over a week now, have been regaled with news of attempts at forcing the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus to resign.
Secondus, is the only chairman of the PDP to have stayed in office for more than three years, and if he survives the current onslaught against him to resign, then he would have made another history, as the only national chairman of the party to serve out his constitutionally guaranteed four years tenure.
The possibility of his serving out his tenure, which ends in December this year, is however laid with landmines.
Landmines, because the forces clamouring and scheming for his sack are believed to be powerful and well entrenched in the party. Though he seemed to be currently enjoying the support of the party’s Board of Trustees, that support has failed to concretely stop the ‘Secondus Must Go’ agitation.
The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has been consistently fingered as the person behind Secondus travails, despite coming from the same state and singlehandedly sponsoring his emergence as national chairman almost four years ago.
Though Wike has not publicly come out to call for Secondus sack or resignation, his ‘body language’ speaks eloquently to the fact. He was sometime ago qouted widely as labelling some members of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) as tax collectors, who are busy feeding fat while the party derails. He has also refused to put in a word for Secondus, a former strong ally of his in his current travails.
There is no doubt that PDP is fast derailing and lossing grip of its critical stakeholders, with defections to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) coming in torrents, as governors, federal and state legislators and critical members, including a member of its BoT, Joy Emordi dumping it.
The defections, which many have blamed on the poor handling of the party’s affairs by Secondus, make the current leadership crisis in the party much more precarious, as there is the possibility that many more may follow.
Though the agitators for Secondus sack have variously pointed at financial mismanagement, poor handling of party affairs and an unconducive working environment (according to the seven deputy national officers that resigned from the NWC), there are strong indications that the politics of 2023 is at the centre of the crisis.
For those who understand the politics of PDP and its zoning partern, Secondus may just be a stumbling block to some if he continues in office beyond December, 2021.
Some aggrieved members of the party, reportedly including Governor Wike, are afraid that if Secondus is allowed to continue in office, he will hand pick his allies for the national convention planning committee where new national officers will be elected, therefore paving the way for him to win a second term in office, which he is entitled to.
This will however shut out the chances of any candidate from the Southern part of the country from emerging as the party’s presidential candidate.
It must also be noted that the emergence of Secondus as national chairman for a second term, will preclude Wike, who is from the same Rivers State with Secondus, from getting a look in as a possible vice presidential candidate in 2023. That’s if he is unable to secure the party’s nod as the presidential candidate, which he has been rumoured to crave for.
Though none of the people concerned has voiced out their concern about the possible implications of Secondus continuing in office publicly, reported exchanges at the fence mending meeting of the party’s BoT, speaks eloguently to the fact.
According to reports from the BoT meeting, Wike, who made a surprise appearance at the meeting, was visibly agitated, saying he has been labelled as Father Christmas.
One of those who attended the meeting said: “Holding a magazine where he (the governor) said he was described as a Father Christmas, he said when he single-handedly paid the legal fees and other matters in the case that removed Ali Modu Sheriff as the national chairman of the party and rescued it from him, nobody called him such a name.
“He said he had been paying the rent for the Legacy Building (PDP Presidential Campaign office in Abuja), yet nobody described him using such language. He said if he was not a party man, he could probably have used such money to also marry four wives. He also said he had not told anyone that he wanted to be the presidential candidate of the party in 2023 as insinuated in some quarters. ”
Wike also accused Secondus of polarising the PDP Governors’ Forum as some of its members were behind him (Secondus), while others were with the governor.
On his part, the embattled National Chairman was said to have challenged Wike on claims that he was seeking another term.
The source said further: “He told the governor to name anyone he had informed that he was running for a second term. He also said that the party would determine who would be the next national chairman of the party and that the party was bigger than himself. He said the governor should play the role of a father.”
From the exchanges, it is obvious that the politics of 2023 is the major issue at stake in the party, and if it is not well handled, it may just snowball into a fatal catastrophic end of the party’s ambition at dislodging the APC from the presidency in 2023.
For Wike and Secondus, their well aclaimed partnership and friendship may have just being sacrificed on the alter of ambition, while the PDP continues to bleed and igloriously heading for self destruction.