PROFILE: Uche Secondus: The man to lead PDP’s battle against APC in 2019

Secondus
PDP chairman, Uche Secondus. [Photo credit: Concise News]

Uche Secondus is the man of the moment.

The 62-year-old politician from Rivers State, South-south of Nigeria, won big on Saturday in Abuja.

But his election as the new leader of Nigeria’s biggest opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, seemed to have already put his party on a path to another crisis that could mar their chances in the 2019 presidential election.

Besides some of the aspirants from the nation’s South-west walking out of the party convention, alleging a gang up and also saying that the Yoruba were being “insulted”, the general thinking appears to be that the PDP would have been better off picking its national chairman from the region where the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has a grip on.

Mr. Secondus, when asked about the South-west question in a Thisday interview published in November, argued that it was wise for other regions to accede the party chairmanship to his zone – the South-south – being that it has for long remained a stronghold of the PDP. “If you want to win an election you don’t start from the unknown. You begin with the known,” he had said.

Apparently referring to the aspirants from the South-west, Mr. Secondus went on to say that those who wanted to lead the PDP must be ready to “deliver” their zones during the 2019 elections. “I will deliver my place and then proceed to win other states and regions,” he boasted.

The South-west question aside, Mr. Secondus is a man well-versed with party politics in Nigeria and looks very much prepared for his latest job.

In Rivers State where he has previously done two terms as the state chairman of the PDP, he is at home with the political leaders and the ordinary folk and is popularly called ‘Total Chairman’.

His strong connection with the likes of Nyesom Wike and Godswill Akpabio, the governor of Rivers State and a former governor of Akwa Ibom State respectively, has helped him to extend his political influence to the entire South-south and the nation at large.

In fact, the foundation of Mr. Secondus’ victory at the Eagles Square, Abuja, could be attributed to the duo of Messrs. Wike and Akpabio, who are believed to have largely funded his campaign.

Mr. Secondus has been in politics for 39 years so far. He joined politics in 1978 during the Second Republic as the youth leader, in Rivers, for the now-defunct National Party of Nigeria, NPN. He later became the state publicity secretary of another national party, the National Republican Convention, NRC, from 1993 to 1998.

Mr. Secondus became the acting national chairman of the PDP in 2015 after the resignation of the then chairman, Adamu Mu’azu, following the party’s defeat in that year’s presidential election. Before then, he was the party’s deputy national chairman.

As a businessman, he is said to have interest in Intels Nigeria Limited, a company that is linked to Nigeria’s former vice president, Atiku Abubakar. The company has been having running battles of late with the Nigerian government.

The new PDP leader, like most of his fellow party men, have had brushes with the country’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, since Muhammadu Buhari became president. He was detained by the EFCC in 2016 for “illegally” receiving on behalf of the PDP 23 luxury vehicles valued at N310 million from the controversial businessman, Jide Omokore.

The court later declared his arrest as being unlawful and awarded N10 million damages against the EFCC.

During the May 2016 botched Port Harcourt convention, Mr. Secondus wanted to contest for the deputy national chairman of the PDP. But he changed his mind that year and went after the party’s top job.

“The truth is that by last year I was gunning for the deputy,” he admitted in the Thisday interview. “The arrangement was such that somebody from the South-west would emerge as the chairman.

“That time, we had two and a half years to the general election. But now, we don’t have time, therefore we need an experienced person who will start working from that the first day,” he argued.

Time – to confront and push Mr. Buhari and the APC out of power – is of the essence to Mr. Secondus, going by his own words.

And he reiterated his mission in his victory speech.

“By my understanding, the mandate you have given us today is clear and unambiguous. It is to return our party to power come 2019. As Herculean as this mandate seems, I know it’s achievable….. Let me assure you great members and leaders of our party, that by the grace of God and with all hands on deck, the brief tenancy of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Aso Rock Villa expires on May 28, 2019.

“By this, we serve them a quit notice,” he said.


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  • Timothy

    Well I guess all the noise about supporting a South-West Candidate was a ruse well played. Majority of the players stepped down. Well I dont have anything against Secondus….if he won free and fair then so shall it be let all those who lost out or withdrew just damn the lose and support the party leadership….my only concern is that Secondus is from the old school, who benefitted from the old regime…is he likely to stop how things are done in the past in PDP? Or makes it more glaring that its a party of chop I chop (or share the money)

  • Comfortkay

    How much does it cost Wike and GEJ to dribbled all the south-west candidate ?
    This is the man that has no clean record and he nearly put Nigeria into crisis during the last election and am sure the south-west candidate will not sleep over it, Wike humiliate all the south-west candiate and this will linger Long.

    • forestgee

      SW candidates did not do their homework.

      • PolyGon2013

        Yep. I agree. But SW always come back.

  • Major Steiner

    “…the general thinking appears to be that the PDP would have been better off picking its national chairman from the region where the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has a grip on”.
    ——————————
    This does not make sense. You strike the enemy at their weak point and not at their stronghold. If you say the APC has a grip on the SW, the logical conclusion must be to strike there where they do not have a grip and that is why PDP’s attempt to position itself strongly in the SS is the right thing to do.

    • PolyGon2013

      APC does not have a grip on SW. We vote with our head, and not with our heart.

      • chinedu

        No doubt the south west has exhibited more advanced democratic tendencies compared to the other zones.

        • PolyGon2013

          Yep.

      • OGK

        If SW always voted with their head, then PDP can forget the region forever. The picture in the head of SW about PDP is that of looting, polls rigging, insults from Jonathan’s kinsmen, political thuggery of Fayose and his Wike acolyte, and now the systemic looting of national assets by modern day convert, and the Atiku. The assuring thing is that come 2019 we’ll be able to vote freely without intimidation from PDP government.

        • PolyGon2013

          You need to realize that a year in politics is a long time. If APC turns out to be bad, they might as well forget about SW. My friend, nothing lasts forever in politics. In the last election, APC to PDP in percentage with respect to voting is about 55% to 45%. Thus, APC nor any other party can take SW for granted. One thing that I am happy about is that PDP will be a formidable opposition to keep us (APC) on our toes to perform better. May God bless Nigeria and her people.

          • abodes_124

            Correct percentage in Presidential election was around the 33% mark methinks

          • PolyGon2013

            Ok.

    • chinedu

      You are right. South west is a weak area for APC. The major strength for the party is North west. So the general thought you mentioned to me would have been a better strategy.

  • Fairgame

    Southwest all thanks to Tinubu and his blind support for Buhari in the last election has created an atmosphere where other regions in the south cannot trust that come 2019 a Chairman from the Southwest won’t betray the PDP because of Osinbajo the same way Muazu betrayed GEJ to get Buhari in Power.That is the bottom line. Under Buhari tribal bigotry has reached the worst level ever and mistrust is at an all time high. So sad. Since APC has a stronghold in the Southwest then it makes absolute sense for the PDP to pick its Chairman from another region.

    • PolyGon2013

      It doesn’t matter. SW can vote for whoever they want. The same is true of other zone. Look at the list of other officers in PDP convention, and there are quite a few from SW. I am from SW, and I am glad that SS win the chairmanship. Yes, thanks to Tinubu that APC holds sway in SW. By the way, SW voted wisely in the last presidential election than other zones. The percentage is around 55 % to 45% in favor of APC to PDP, unlike other zones who voted blindly for their favorites. SW never voted blindly. We need a strong opposition to make our democracy work, but not to the extent of where opposition will stifle progress. What APC has been doing will begin to yield fruition in 2018. It shall be well with Nigeria and her people.

  • Alpha

    The SW should put their house in order. On a keener look, the APC doesn’t have more following in the zone than PDP. The SW votes candidate, not party. They should refrain from putting all their eggs in one basket.

    Congrats to Uche Secondus, the ‘cool’ but highly intelligent calculator.

    • PolyGon2013

      I concur. We vote candidate and not party. This is what separate us from others.

  • sorbitol

    I agree with Mr chairman. You don’t just leave you stronghold area for a region well known for their betrayal nature.

    • chinedu

      It is always a better tactics to strengthen your weak areas as that reinforces your strength.

      • Major Steiner

        On defending weak areas, one you should be able to differentiate whether you are in an attack or defense position. Those are two different situations you should not confuse.

  • TM

    My guess, Atiku is behind this. Watching as the drama unfolding.

  • chinedu

    Mr Secondus may be over rating his political stature when he said that he is in control of Rivers state politics. I am aware that our elections to a large extent follow the amount of money deployed and the use of security agencies. Under Jonathan it was easy to run away with election victory. It became a different ball game when the re-run happened under Buhari. Two senators emerged from APC and a number of HOR members. The next election will be under this present administration and the sway factors earlier mentioned seem to have become stronger as witnessed in last elections in Edo,Ondo,and massively Anambra. Ultimately the future is heavily pregnant and even the scan results may be proven wrong when the results start to emerge.

  • OGK

    In all these, Second us has told us the home truth: PDP is the winner while Nigerians are the ultimate LOSERS

    • PolyGon2013

      I don’t think Nigerians are the losers. We need a formidable opposition (not to the point of stifling progress) so that it can keep APC on its toes. I am in support of Chairman coming from SS. If PDP wins (and I hope not), then, I would like the following positions as follows:

      1. President – to North (because it has been zoned already)
      2. VP – SE
      3. Chairman – already SS, and that is good.
      4. Senate President – SW
      5. House of Reps (leader, I don’t know what they call their leader) – NE

      Like I wrote, I would rather APC wins to continue their good works and improve better on what they are doing wrong. However, in 2023, I would rather the opposition comes back to power, so that APC wont’ brag of reigning forever, just like PDP did before. May God bless Nigeria and her people.

      • Tunsj

        In 2023, The APC Presidential candidate should come from SE. That’s the right thing to do.

        • PolyGon2013

          I totally agree.

          • Tunsj

            I agree completely. It’s about time they zone it to SE. They are Nigerians too. I’m from SW but I will love to see a President from SE.

  • GusO

    For me who lives in the US, this profiling of Uche Secundus was inadequate. It gives me no preview of who he is and what makes him tick. It should have included his educational achievements and in which communities he has resided in Nigeria. Including such information in the profiling of candidates provides some indication into his expected abilities to do the job of a Chairman and the ease with which he will deal with Nigeria’s ethnic divide. PT, do a better job in the future.

  • Jack

    Congratulation secondus, now you will know what it takes to be in opposition.

  • Rommel

    These people still think that thuggery and assasinations will get them anywhere, this WIKE ideology is bunkum,they should prepare to be in opposition until a real opposition party emerges in Nigeria