By Tonye Barcanista
On Tuesday, August 3, 2021, the media space was shaken as a result of mass exodus of seven members of the Peoples Democratic Party National Executive Committee, NEC, from their positions.
The NEC members, who are all deputies to their respective principals in the National Working Committee, cited among others, the failure of Prince Uche Secondus, the Party’s National Chairman, and the entire NWC to carry them along in the running of the party. They also alleged that the Prince Secondus treated them like nobodies in their almost four years in office.
Shortly after, a member of the NWC and National Youth Leader, Rt Hon SKE Udeh Okoye, held a press conference to demand the resignation of Prince Secondus. At the Press Conference, the Youth leader revealed that about ten members of the party’s NWC are aligned with the call for Prince Secondus’ resignation.
Okoye also revealed that Prince Secondus crippled all departments of the party, including his youth department, of performing optimally by striping them of resources and other necessities to function. He further accused Prince Secondus of abusing his position as the Chairman of the party to illicitly accumulate wealth at the detriment of the party, amongst other allegations.
Following Okoye’s outburst, the National Chairman of the partyy, through his media assistant, Mr Ike Abonyi, accused Okoye of executing a hatchet job for unknown persons, and slammed him for keeping quiet since December 2017 but only speaking now that he has been hired for a “yeoman’s” job. Interestingly, Mr Abonyi fall short of convincing members of the party why they shouldn’t take the allegations levelled by the National Youth Leader seriously.
Curiously, Mr Abonyi could not factually convince party members whether Prince Secondus has delivered on his promise to Reform, Rebrand and Restructure the party or otherwise.
Though I am not interested in the back and forth exchange between the NWC members, I find it absurd that the Prince Uche Secondus permitted Mr Abonyi to author a statement which focuses on attacking the personality of Udeh Okoye, who is supposed to be a subordinate to Secondus, rather than address the issues raised by the Youth leader and the resigned NEC members.
Since the present NWC came into office, there have been series of complaints by party members of lack of vibrancy and activities in the youth, publicity, women and other key departments of the party.
Although the publicity directorate under Kola Ologbondiyan, has been up and doing in releasing press statements and organising press conferences, rank and file party members still complain of lack of visibility of the party on critical issues affecting the country. The Youth and Women departments that are meant to organise events and programs for the advancement of the PDP and galvanise support for the party, are unfortunately in a pitiable state. In fact, the two departments have been on redundancy ever since the present NWC came to office almost four years ago; and it appears that there is no hope in sight.
The situation was worse during the electioneering period of 2019 General Election as the party could not organise any youth or women events, neither did the party provide support for the hundreds of support groups that registered with the youth directorate of PDP to galvanise votes for our candidates.
Post 2019 election, the perception of party members and Nigerian public of PDP is that of a weak and inept institution that is yet to show seriousness to challenge the failure of All Progressive Congress (APC) in the battle for 2023. The PDP has become a shadow of its once glorious self, with senior members, including serving Governors and National Assembly members, switching loyalty to the opposition almost on daily basis.
Furthermore, the party is engulfed in Factional crisis in most states of the country, with Secondus’ leadership failing to adequately address them and unite disparaging interests. Some party chieftains have accused Prince Secondus of fuelling the crises in states and sponsoring factions in states for his own selfish interest. These myriads of crisis in the states chapters coupled with absence of leadership are enough to discourage aggrieved members of the opposition party, All Progressive Congress (APC) from making the needed switch into the PDP fold.
Moreover, party staff at the national secretariat in Zone 5, Abuja, have serially complained of poor welfare packages from the party leadership, while people that are sent on adhoc assignments (Congresses) lament failure of the party leadership to pay their honorarium.
In view of the above, it is unpatriotic for anyone, including sympathisers of Prince Uche Secondus, to see the call for his resignation as attack on his person. It is also uncharitable for the Chairman’s media office and sympathisers to blame SKE Udeh Okoye, Governor Nyesom Wike or any person as being responsible for the “No Confidence Vote” on Prince Uche Secondus.
Going forward, Prince Uche Secondus has three options before him.
The first option is to employ ‘dignified’ silence pending the conclusion of the internal resolution mechanism of the NWC.
The second option is to holistically address the salient issues that were raised against his leadership by Hon Okoye, and other officers of the party.
The third and final option before him is to save his honor and prestige by yielding the call to step aside as National Chairman in the interest of the party.
Tamunotonye ‘Tonye Barcanista’ Inioribo