Secondus battles for survival, Tambuwal rallies support as Wike plots PDP chairman’s removal
The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Uche Secondus, is battling to retain his position as opposition to his chairmanship mounts, The PUNCH has learnt.
It was gathered on Wednesday that Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and other party chieftains opposed to Secondus were bent on removing him before the National Executive Committee meeting of the party, which would hold anytime from now.
It was learnt that the plot to remove the chairman before the NEC meeting was part of moves to thwart his re-election at the party’s national convention, which would hold in November.
As the plot to sack Secondus thickened on Wednesday, The PUNCH gathered that the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum and Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, had started mobilising support for him.
But sources in the PDP told one of our correspondents that Secondus’s opponents feared that if the chairman was allowed to convene the NEC meeting, where members of the convention/election committee would be chosen, he would plant his loyalists in the committee thus paving the way for his re-election.
Recall there were reports on Tuesday that a crisis had hit the PDP National Working Committee following the resignation of seven members.
It was gathered that the anti-Secondus forces thought the mass resignation would force the chairman out of the office or lead to the setting up of a caretaker committee to replace the NWC before the national convention where new national officers would emerge.
A member of the NWC, who confided in one of our correspondents on Wednesday, said, “The crisis is about the control of the party ahead of the 2023 elections. Wike and others, who are opposed to Secondus strongly believe that if he is allowed to convene and preside over the NEC meeting, where the national convention/election committee members will be chosen, he will ensure that his supporters are members, thus his re-emergence as the national chairman will be easy. They believe that Secondus should not preside over his re-election.”
Wike, Rivers PDP chairman keep mum
The Rivers State governor and the state Chairman of the PDP, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, were on Wednesday silent on allegations that the governor was behind the move to remove Secondus.
Although our correspondent in the state could not reach the governor directly, several calls and a text/WhatsApp message sent to his Personal Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, were not responded to as of the time of filing this report.
Similarly, Akawor neither responded to several calls put across to him by the correspondent nor replied to a text message sent to his phone as of 8:40pm when our reporter filed this report.
But Wike in a recent parley with journalists in Port Harcourt dismissed claims that he and Secondus were not in good terms.
A couple of weeks ago, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State hosted Wike and Secondus in what was widely believed to be a move to reconcile the two political leaders from Rivers State.
Though the outcome of the meeting was not made public, it was reported that Ortom reconciled Wike and Secondus.
But Tambuwal on Wednesday started rallying support for the embattled chairman.
One of our correspondents gathered that Tambuwal cut short his visit to Ghana to rush down to Abuja for an emergency session with some of his colleagues.
As Tambuwal moves to save the embattled chairman heightened, the Chairman of the party Board of Trustees, Senator Walid Jubin, summoned an emergency meeting of the board which would be held today.
It was learnt that Tambuwal, who started reaching out to his colleagues on Tuesday night was being supported by Senator Seriake Dickson ,who was coordinating members of the party in the National Assembly.
A high-ranking member of the party’s leadership, who confided in one of our correspondents, said contrary to reports on Wednesday, those who resigned were not members of the NWC.
He stated, “In all honesty, no member of the National Working Committee has resigned yet, yes there are threats but no one has resigned.
“The seven deputies who resigned yesterday were members of the National Executive Committee not the NWC.
“However, their decision also makes the party look bad. We know an individual who is hell bent on causing chaos in the party because of a personal ambition. But he will soon realise that the PDP is bigger than any individual. We have survived the worst. I know Tambuwal and Dickson are mobilising support for Secondus.”
In what appears to be worsening of the situation, a member of the party’s Board of Trustees, Senator Joy Emordi, also dumped the party to join the APC. The decision was announced by the Director General Media to the APC National Chairman, Mamman Mohammed, in Abuja, on Wednesday.
Emordi’s decision came barely 24 hours after seven members of the party’s NEC resigned from the committee.