Prince Uche Secondus, National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and other members of the National Working Committee (NWC) have voluntarily agreed not to seek reelection in the forthcoming national convention of the party scheduled to hold in October, this year.
This was exclusively revealed to Daily Independent by Chief Raymond Dokpesi, a chieftain of the party and former national chairmanship aspirant, in Abuja at the weekend.
There has been controversy over the fate of Secondus following the unsuccessful coup spearheaded by his erstwhile benefactor, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, to remove him from office and install a Caretaker Committee.
During the stakeholders’ meeting held last week to resolve the imbroglio, the governors, party elders and other stakeholders agreed that Secondus should be allowed to complete his tenure since he has just four months to go.
As part of the peace deal struck to resolve the crisis, it was also agreed that the convention which was earlier scheduled to hold in December be brought forward to October.
The stakeholders were, however, silent on the fate of Secondus and other members of the NWC who may want to seek reelection for another term.
Speaking with Daily Independent, Dokpesi, who was present at the meeting where the crisis was resolved, said Secondus and other members of the NWC voluntarily agreed not to contest in the convention where a new national chairman of the party who will lead the PDP to the 2023 general elections will be elected.
“Zoning must be done fairly and justly so that a new chairman will emerge. The members of the National Working Committee on their own have voluntarily agreed that they were not going to contest.
“And in which case, there was nothing to dispute about as long as they have agreed to step aside from the next convention on their own volition.
“Since they are out, then we can get more credible people to come in and contest. And with the re-zoning that will take place and so on, I think that PDP is really getting itself organised and ready for that 2023 election”, he said.
Efforts made to reach Ike Abonyi, Media Adviser to Secondus, proved abortive.
When contacted, a member of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), who asked not to be named said while it is true that Dokpesi attended the meeting, his statement that Secondus had agreed not to seek reelection was completely false.
He said Dokpesi is a close friend of Wike and both men are united in the unsuccessful plot to oust Secondus from office before his tenure ends.
“Yes, it is true that Dr. Dokpesi attended the meeting. He sat not too far from me. But where did he get his own information that Secondus has agreed not to seek reelection. Maybe you should ask him if Secondus personally told him that because the chairman never agreed to that at the meeting.
“Let me give you the true picture of what transpired at the meeting. There was a recommendation by the Governors’ Forum to ban members of the current NWC from contesting in the convention but the motion was killed at the meeting because many people agreed that it was unconstitutional to do so.
“Tanimu Turaki, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and former presidential aspirant who was at the meeting quoted copiously from the constitution especially section 47 (1) of the PDP constitution 2017 (as amended) which gives NWC members the right to occupy offices for a maximum of two terms of four years each.
“He also told those present that if they go ahead and ban Secondus and others from contesting, the party may enter into another round of litigation which may cause a crisis that is even bigger than the current one.
“So, the idea was dropped at the meeting and that was why the issue of whether Secondus will seek reelection or not was not part of what was in the communiqué read by Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State who is the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum.
“So, we wonder where Dokpesi got his own information but we are not surprised because he is the man Friday of the Rivers governor who is the arrowhead of the Secondus-must-go plot”.
Daily Independent also gathered from another credible source that the convention scheduled for October may be shifted further.
According to him, the date was only fixed just to douse the tension in the party following the attempt to sack Secondus from office.
He said the major task before the party now is the e-registration exercise which is ongoing in all 36 states of the federation and the FCT.
“The October date fixed for the convention is not likely. I think the date was just fixed to appease those agitating for Secondus removal. We are in mid-August and given the fact that the e-registration has just commenced, it is unlikely that the convention will hold in October. It may be shifted to late November or early December”, he said.