RISING from a virtual meeting on August 7, members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) House of Representatives Caucus demanded the immediate resignation of the party’s National Chairman Uche Secondus.
The development further deepened the crisis that hit the PDP after the resignation of seven national officers on August 4, which led to the ongoing campaign for a change of the party’s leadership.
In demanding Secondus’s resignation, the PDP House of Representatives Caucus observed that many members of the party believe that Secondus was not effective as leader of the national opposition.
“To many, the National Chairman (Secondus) seems much more content with occupying the office and therefore preoccupied with holding onto his position rather than preparing for next elections; this explains for his inexplicably missing endless opportunities that ought to have been utilized for consolidating a viable opposition,” the PDP House of Representatives Caucus said in a communique signed by the leader Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) and deputy leader Chukwuka Onyema (PDP, Anambra)
Secondus was also accused of skewing party congresses to favour his personal future ambition and causing the defection of PDP members in the National Assembly.
The PDP House of Representatives Caucus urged Secondus to ‘make a personal sacrifice’ by honourably resigning to enable a reengineering process towards restoring hope and confidence in the PDP as an alternative to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) government.
The position of the PDP House of Representatives Caucus tallied with the views of a group of PDP members, believed to be backed by Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, who say Secondus should resign because he has not displayed the competence required to lead the national opposition party to wrest power from the ruling APC.
PDP National Youth Leader Sunday Ude-Okoye appears to be spearheading the moves to oust Secondus.
In an interview with The ICIR, Ude-Okoye compared the opposition put up by the Secondus-led PDP to what was obtainable when the APC was the opposition during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Ude-Okoye observed that PDP under Secondus was not effective as a national opposition party.
“When John Oyegun and Lai Mohammed were leading APC as national chairman and publicity secretary (respectively), they were very active, and Nigerians were seeing them in the media. They were very active; Nigerians were hearing from them. Who is hearing from Secondus?” Ude-Okoye said while insisting that Secondus must go.
* Secondus-led PDP is engaging in ‘constructive’ opposition… Party spokesman
But the Secondus-led PDP national executive committee is defending itself in the face of accusations that the party was not mounting an effective opposition against the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government.
PDP National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan told The ICIR that PDP is engaging in what he described as ‘constructive’ opposition.
“When it comes to effective opposition, the PDP is engaging in constructive opposition. What we are doing as a party is to engage in constructive opposition by highlighting the failures of the APC government so Nigerians can compare the two styles of administration and determine which is better,” Ologbondiyan said in response to suggestions that PDP was not effective as an opposition party.
* What APC did during Jonathan’s administration was no opposition, it was brigandage… PDP
The PDP spokesman added that APC engaged in what he described as ‘brigandage’ to take power in the 2015 presidential election.
PDP cannot descend to brigandage and would not require a similar strategy to dislodge APC in 2023, Ologbondiyan said.
“When APC was looking for power, they engaged in brigandage, and the nation is still suffering the consequences of that brigandage even till today,” Ologbondiyan said.
He noted that the way APC went about opposing the Jonathan administration caused many problems for Nigeria.
“For instance, when former President Goodluck Jonathan decided to fight insurgency, he was looking for military hardware, looking for arms and ammunition for the country. What did APC do then? They went forum shopping. They blocked every avenue from which Goodluck Jonathan could get military support under the guise that such military support would be used against members of the opposition, which was why insecurity and insurgency festered. Today as we speak, the country has become a landmine with funeral parlours in every direction you look at. If APC had not engaged in brigandage, then there is a tendency that we would have defeated insurgency then, but because of their greed, because they were self-centred and because all they were driving at was to seize power, they engaged in brigandage against the then government and that has brought us to our knees now in terms of insecurity.
“PDP does not want to go in that direction in view of the fact that it is ordinary Nigerians that will suffer at the end if we decide to do what the APC did.”
* PDP spokesman says opposition will be intensified at the appropriate time
Still deflecting suggestions that the Secondus-led PDP was not doing enough to dislodge the APC in the forthcoming presidential election, Ologbondiyan assured that the party would intensify its opposition to the ruling party at the right time.
“At the fullness of time, the opposition will be fiercer than what it is today,” he said, adding that Nigerians would have felt that “it was too early” had PDP mounted an all-out campaign against the Buhari-led APC government without allowing the administration first to settle down.
“But Mr. President (Buhari) has shown that he lacks the capacity to deliver on anything, so if we now become fiercer than we were before, nobody will say we are unfair. But I will insist on saying that we will not engage in the brigandage that they (APC) engaged in against the people of Nigeria thinking that they were engaging in it against the government of Goodluck Jonathan.”
* Secondus vows he won’t resign, PDP governors meet over crisis
As the debate over his competence as national opposition leader rages on, Secondus has vowed that he will not resign his position.
Speaking through a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media Ike Abonyi, Secondus said that nothing so far warrants his resignation as PDP national chairman.
Rather, he challenged his opponents, who he described as a tiny minority, to come clean and tell party members across the country the offence for which they want him to resign.
Meanwhile, the governors elected on the party’s platform, under the aegis of the PDP Governors Forum, met over Secondus’s fate in Abuja on August 9.
The meeting, held at the Akwa Ibom State Governor’s Lodge in the Asokoro area of Abuja, was attended by governors Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Oluseyi Makinde (Oyo), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) and Adamu Fintiri (Adamawa).
Others at the meeting are Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Udoh Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom) Douye Diri (Bayelsa) and Darius Ishaku (Taraba).
When the meeting ended after about six hours, Tambuwal disclosed that the governors “collectively resolved to continue to work together in unity”. But he added that the meeting would continue on August 10 with other stakeholders.
The PDP Board of Trustees (BOT) had failed to resolve the crisis at an earlier meeting on August 6.