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Sunday, 10 December 2017

Sacked as acting head, detained as deputy chairman – Secondus bounces back

Sacked as acting head, detained as deputy chairman – Secondus bounces back

After a day-long drama at the Eagles Square in Abuja, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) now has Uche Secondus as its new national chairman.

What looked like a keenly-contested election was later washed down to a loose race; with just three candidates – Tunde Adeniran, Raymond Dokpesi and Secondus – left of the original nine.

It was not until early Sunday morning that Secondus was announced winner of the chairmanship race and would, in the next couple of years, be leading the PDP not just as an opposition but also as a “government-in-waiting”, with the party saying time and again that it is ready to “take over” power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

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Bio Data: Secondus was born on 22 March, 1955, in Andoni, Rivers state. He completed his elementary and secondary education in the state later furthered at the London Chambers of Commerce Institute where he obtained a certificate in commerce.
HIS LONG ROMANCE WITH THE PDP

Secondus’ first shot at politics was during the second republic, when he served as Rivers state youth leader of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and later, the state publicity secretary of the National Republican Convention (NRC) from 1993–1998.

In 2002, he was elected the chairman of the River state chapter of the PDP during which he served two tenures.

Having proved to be a key player in south-south politics, Secondus was made the south-south coordinator for the PDP national campaign council during the 2007 general elections. Later in 2008, he was elected the national organising secretary.

In 2013, he became the deputy national chairman of the party and in 2015, succeeded Adamu Mu’azu as the party’s acting national chairman.

‘MY AGENDA FOR THE PDP’

In an interview he granted Vanguard in the build-up of the convention, Secondus had said he will be leading the party – if he eventually emerges victorious – on the basis of 3Rs: rebuild, reposition and regain

“I will want to remain focused on it in terms of building the party. As we are doing that, we do it together with the other two – repositioning in terms of membership, going digital and mostly emphasising on the youth who are leaders of tomorrow,” he had said.

‘I HAVE NEVER SAT DOWN WITH MAKARFI ON HOW TO BECOME CHAIRMAN’

Secondus also said contrary to claims that stakeholders in the party had already finalised plans to make him the national chairman, he never discussed his chairmanship aspiration with the party leadership.

“I have never sat down with Makarfi on how to become chairman,” he said.

“This is pull-down syndrome. There is no iota of truth in it. I have no arrangement with Makarfi; no one is trying to impose me on people. I have been there before. I contested as national organising secretary, I have contested for deputy national chairman, I acted as national chairman of our party, these are records that you can cross check.”

SPENT EIGHT DAYS IN EFCC CUSTODY AS PDP DEPUTY NATIONAL CHAIRMAN

In February 2016, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested Secondus, then deputy national chairman of the PDP, for allegedly receiving illegally, 23 luxury vehicles valued at N310 million from Jide Omokore, oil mogul who is being probed for alleged contract fraud.

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He was later to spend eight days in custody, with the PDP alleging his arrest was “part of the grand script by the APC-led federal government to decimate the opposition”.

Upon his release, Secondus blamed “a minister from Rivers state” for his ordeals with the anti-graft agency, apparently referring to Rotimi Amaechi, being the only minister from Rivers then and now.

WAS ASKED TO VACATE OFFICE AS PDP ACTING CHAIRMAN

Shortly after Adamu Mu’azu resigned as the national chairman of the party in May 2015, Secondus – then deputy national chairman – had stepped in to take over but he never had it rosy.

Seven months down the line, precisely on December 15, a federal high court in Abuja ordered him to vacate office as the party’s acting national chairman within a period of fourteen days.

The court judgment followed a suit filed by Ahmed Gulak, former special adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on political matters who was also interested in the chairmanship position.

He had argued that since the chairmanship position had been zoned to the north-east, Secondus, who hailed from the south-south, is not eligible to take over from Mu’azu.

But Secondus never moved an inch.

On one occasion, Gulak had stormed the party secretariat, saying he was ready to enforce the court ruling and assume office as the “authentic” chairman of the PDP. Both of them ended up occupying the office of the party’s national chairman – at least momentarily.

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