The aspiration of the National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, for a second term in office has sparked a fresh struggle for the soul of the party by various interest groups.
His current tenure is due to expire in December.
But with four months to go, prominent power blocs are said to have begun consultations and meetings on how to ensure that the next NWC of the party is manned by “their own people.”
Secondus’ re-election bid, well placed party sources said, is already being opposed by some prominent PDP leaders and chieftains who prefer a new person as the national chairman of the party ahead of the 2023 elections.
Governors, former presidential aspirants of the party and other leading lights of the party are among those gearing up to work against the re-election bid of Secondus.
But the PDP chairman still enjoys the backing of some other party chieftains who want him to lead the party to the next elections.
On his side, according to sources, are the political camp of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, a couple of governors, National Assembly members and the majority of the members of the current NWC.
Sources said opposition to Secondus’ second term may not be unconnected with allegations in some quarters that he favoured, and still favours, the Atiku political camp more than other blocs within the party.
“You shouldn’t be surprised if you discover that governors like Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto, among others, are opposed to the second term ambition of our chairman,” a source said.
The source said the looming intra-party struggle over who becomes the national chairman of the PDP is already an issue of serious concern among party elders.
His words: “For many of our elders and other stakeholders who do not wish to see PDP return to the inglorious days of internal crisis, this issue is already a matter of serious concern.
“Recently, a group of former chairmen suggested early dialogue as a way out.
“I am also aware that some founding fathers of the party met to discuss the future of the party.
“After their deliberations, they urged all parties in the dispute to reconcile their differences in order to ensure that the peace currently enjoyed by the party is not truncated.”
Another sources said some party members are uncomfortable with Secondus’ alleged romance with Atiku and “they do not want what happened in the 2019 presidential primary election to repeat itself.”
He added: “Many of them are still holding the belief that the process was manipulated by the NWC to favour Atiku’s emergence as candidate. Naturally, they want their own man in charge.”
Some Chairmen of the PDP in the South-West recently accused Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State of a surreptitious move to prevent the re-election of Secondus.
They said prominent party leaders in the zone would not support the move. The chairmen, Deji Doherty (Lagos), Clement Faboyede (Ondo), Dr. Sikirulai Ogundele (Ogun) and Sunday Akanfe (Osun), accused Makinde and Chief Bode George, former deputy national chairman of the party, of championing the plot in the zone.
The chairmen made the allegations in a letter to Secondus dated June 19, 2020.
They said: “We the undersigned are party chairmen in states of the South-West Zone, and we feel duty-bound to alert you on the need to forestall the festering of any crisis in the South-West zone of the party.
“In this respect, we take due notice of the invitation to a purported South-West Zone meeting which held on Friday, June 19, 2020, unilaterally summoned by His Excellency, Oluseyi Makinde, with no recourse whatsoever to the zonal executive.
“This development, if not arrested, may signal the beginning of terrible developments in our zone.
“We are also aware that factors propelling the simmering crisis included that of Chief Olabode to become National Chairman at all cost and also that of Senator Hosea Agboola, the current caretaker chairman of Ekiti State, to become national vice-chairman.
“These two men are exploring their closeness to the governor to prosecute inordinate ambition at the expense of the existing amity and understanding within the South-West Zone, which is currently being disrupted for this reason.”
Although George debunked allegations that Makinde wanted to make him national chairman, he confirmed the fact that the next NWC of the party was already being discussed and planned.