Uche Secondus, former Acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, has emerged as the substantive Chairman of the party after Saturday’s national convention.
Result of the election was announced early on Sunday and Secondus was sworn in alongside his new executives at the Eagle Square, Abuja, venue of the convention.
However, out of the three candidates who eventually contested the chairmanship position, one refused to comment on the outcome, one left the convention ground in protest and one congratulated the winner.
Secondus, who was supported by all the 11 PDP governors, defeated all the other aspirants with a total of 2000 votes.
Breaking News! Prince Uche Secondus has been elected as the National Chairman of the @OfficialPDPNig. He won other contestants with a total of 2,000 votes. Prince Secondus and the newly elected officials have been sworn in at Eagle Square, venue of the PDP National Convention pic.twitter.com/JPj40ZhoyS
— Official PDP Nigeria (@OfficialPDPNig) December 10, 2017
Reports from the convention ground say Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State, and Ayodele Fayose, Governor of Ekiti State, openly campaigned for Secondus during the convention.
Out of the nine contestants that initially ran for the position, only four eventually contested: Secondus, Tunde Adeniran, Raymond Dokpesi, and Taoheed Adedoja.
Others pulled out of the race a day before or shortly before the election started on Saturday.
The candidates that pulled out were Olabode George, Jimi Agbaje, Gbenga Daniels, and Aderemi Olusegun.
George said he withdrew from the race due to the refusal of the party to micro-zone the office of the national chairman to the South-West.
While Agbaje told journalists he was withdrawing so as to enable the South West stand a better chance of winning the election.
The position had been zoned to the southern part of the country, while the presidential candidate was zoned to the North.
However, out of the nine persons that indicated interest in running for the seat, only two – Secondus and Dokpesi – are from the South-South; others are from the South West.
Ladoja refused to comment on the outcome, telling newsmen: “I’m consulting and will speak soon. We need to study its outcome before making any pronouncements.”
But Secondus said he would carry all the other contestants along in his administration to ensure that the party wins back power come 2019 general election.
“It is the party first. We have no other reason to remain contestants without the PDP,” Secondus said.
“Our interest is in the party and the desire to wrest power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). That should be our goal.
“None of us can do it alone. It is in our interest to come together and fight for Nigerians. All the contestants are capable of leading the party.
“I want to appeal to every member of the party to come together and be united. I’m appealing to all and sundry, we should all remain united and be committed.”
Meanwhile, Adeniran, another contestant in the election and a former Minister of Education, walked out of the convention ground in protest.
Taiwo Akeju, Director of Media and Publicity of the Adeniran Campaign Organisation, described the entire process as compromised, saying that the caretaker committee headed by Ahmed Makarfi should hand over the party leadership to the Board of Trustees (BoT).
“We reject the entire electoral process of December 9, 2017,” Akeju said.
“The election was grossly compromised to achieve a predetermined end in line with the illegal ‘Unity List’ prepared by Governors Nyesom Wike and Ayodele Fayose and foisted on the entire delegates.
“Consequently, we submit that this election is a sham and its result is unacceptable. We reject it in its entirety. We consider this so-called election as a travesty of democracy and due process, which further entrenches the culture of impunity that has done a great damage to the party in the past.”
Fayose, however, asked the contestants who lost to Secondus to accept it in good faith.
“Anyone who will contest the result of this election at the court of law is an enemy of the party,” he said. “It is not good to be a bad loser. If you did not win, just take it in good faith and support the winner.”
It was Dokpesi, Chairman emeritus of DAAR Communications Plc (owners of AIT), who congratulated Secondus on his victory, saying, (the delegates have spoken).
“I write to thank you (delegates) most wholeheartedly for voting at the just concluded Elective National Convention in Abuja,” Dokpesi said in a statement he issued soon after the results were announced.
“The delegates have spoken. I congratulate the newly-elected Prince Uche Secondus led National Working Committee.
“You will recall that I said that the PDP must be the ultimate winner at the end of the contest. God bless the Peoples Democratic Party. Congratulations PDP as I wish all our members the best of luck.”