The emergence of Uche Secondus as the new National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) on Sunday at the end of the party’s national convention in Abuja was the outcome of intense negotiations and horse trading among various contending forces in the party.

Bounce News had exclusively reported on November 26, 2017 that judging from the political permutations on the ground and coupled with his experience, Secondus would emerge as the PDP National Chairman.

From the beginning, the open field was accommodating and very attractive to all who nursed various political ambitions.

However, as the battle began a few weeks ago with its scheming, it became a matter of survival of not only the fittest but that of those who get the acceptance of the real owners of the party.

The struggle to secure votes from 2,800 delegates by aspirants went beyond mere campaigns and lobbying. Those who really own the delegates must also be reached.

The scramble for the position of national chairman became the most attractive and most keenly contested, a situation, which made those involved in the contest to deploy and apply different tactics.

Micro zoning

The issue of zoning and micro zoning took center stage as most aspirants particularly from the South-West consistently asked that the zone be given the opportunity to produce the national chairman.

They were strongly supported by some northern leaders too.

But since there was no mutual agreement on the matter, the contest for the chairmanship seat became open to all aspirants from the South.

It was on this basis that Secondus and the founder of DAAR Communications, Raymond Dokpesi joined the race along with seven other aspirants from the South-west.

The aspirants from the South-west were Prof Tunde Adeniran, Bode George, Jimi Agbaje, Rashidi Ladoja, Gbenga Daniel, Taoheed Adedoja and Olusegun Aderemi.

Pre-election intrigues

The battle, which later became a straight fight between Secondus and Adeniran showed that while Adeniran relied on delegates from the North, Secondus had the whole of the South and was able to snatch a larger number of northern delegates from Adeniran.

Secondus was more strategic in his quest to clinch the prime position. He started by oiling his relationships with the governors.

Secondus, a former Deputy National Chairman of the party, received strong backing of the 11 governors elected on the platform of the party as they stood in solidarity with him throughout the exercise.

The unflinching support by the governors was said to have boosted Secondus’ chance in the North where Adeniran had initial support.  He was able to snatch a larger number of northern delegates from Adeniran.

A source familiar with the two-day horse-trading between the leaders of the party, toldBounce News that an enlarged meeting of the elders of the party, which held few hours before the commencement of the convention succeeded in convincing the some of the party’s leaders from the north to allow Secondus to emerge Chairman.

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While the controversy over micro zoning was going on, Secondus was perfecting alliance with the states in the South-east that could give him block votes. His calculations was that the zone has large number of delegates which would swing victory for him.

Influence of money

In order to get Secondus elected and take over PDP, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State was said to have given northern delegates to the convention $10,000 each while southern delegates got $5,000 each.

One of the delegates from Lagos State told our correspondent that he was also approached and he collected the money.

He however, said he voted for Adeniran.

He added that other delegates from the South-West were also offered money to support Secondus.

Makarfi’s role

Independent sources within the party told the Bounce News that the governors put the outgone chairman of the national caretaker committee of the party , Ahmed Makarfi in the know of their findings and the need to ensure the emergence of a candidate that could be not controlled by external forces.

In that light, the former governor of Kaduna State frustrated the bid to micro-zone the position to the South-West.

Makarfi’s action earned him names from some South-West aspirants who believe he was doing the bidding of  Secondus.

It was gathered that Wike offered Makarfi a multi-billion contract for doing the bidding of the governors.

Other key members of the committee were also said to have been rewarded by Wike.

It was, therefore, not surprising that the bulk of votes at the convention went the way of Secondus, who polled 2,000 votes ahead of his closest challenger, Adeniran, who managed to score 230 votes. Dokpesi, also from the South-South, scored some 66 votes.

Aside the Chairman, 22 other positions were contested for in the new National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP.

Secondus emergence shows two things - the PDP leadership appears united but it also leaves a question hanging  -  will this means justify the end in 2019?

Other members of the new NWC include Yemi Akinwonmi (Deputy National Chairman South); Garba Gamawa (Deputy National Chairman North); Ibrahim Tsauri (National Secretary); Abubakar Mustapha (Deputy National Secretary); Aribisala Adewale (National Treasurer); Wada Masu (Deputy National Treasurer) and Abdullahi Maibasira (Financial Secretary).

Others are Gerald Irona (Deputy Financial Secretary), Austin Akobundu (National Organizing Secretary), Hassan Yakubu (Deputy National Organising Secretary), Kola Ologbondiyan (Publicity Secretary), Diran Odeyemi (Deputy National Publicity Secratry), Emmanuel Enoidem (National Legal Adviser), Ahmed Liman (Deputy National Legal Adviser), Adamu Mustapha (National Auditor), Divine Arong (Deputy National Auditor), Mariya Waziri (National Woman Leader), Hadizat Umoru (Deputy National Woman Leader), Udeh Okoye (National Youth Leader) and Umar Maina (Deputy National Youth Leader).