November 29, 2017

PDP chairmanship: My plans and the conspiracies against me — Secondus

Prince Uche Secondus, National Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Prince Uche Secondus

By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor

Prince Uche Secondus has operated across several levels in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Famed as Total Chairman when he held sway as the chairman of the Rivers State chapter of the party, he subsequently emerged as the National Organising Secretary, deputy National Chairman and most recently, the Acting National Chairman of the party.

Now an aspirant for the post of National Chairman of the party, Secondus in this interview speaks on his aspiration, goals and plans for the party. Excerpts:

Prince Uche Secondus, Acting National Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Prince Uche Secondus

Before the Port Harcourt Convention in 2016, you aspired to be the Deputy National Chairman. What changed so much that you are now contending for the office of national chairman?

The truth is that by last year I was gunning for the Deputy. 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 believe that we don’t have time. Therefore we need an experienced person who knows that from the first day he will just start working.

The second reason is that relatively you need a zone where there may not be crisis, and I believe that in my state and in my zone, we don’t have a crisis within the party unlike in other zones where they have some issues. I don’t want to go into details. These are some of the reasons I am volunteering myself for the position.

Given that the party is very strong in the South-South and the South East, and that it would have been logical to woo the Southwest with the office?

That is purely sentimental. In reality, if you want to win an election you don’t start from the unknown. You begin with the known. Apart from the chairman, there are three or four major positions if you are talking about the zoning of the positions. The South West is a very important zone in the country, if not the number one zone, if you like in terms of intellectualism, media and so on.

We know they have produced the President. So if you look at the president, Vice President, and the Senate President, these are key government positions. So if you are also talking of what will benefit the people directly, you will see that with these three key positions, there is no way the South West can be ignored; but we are down, so we want to start from a safer place to move.

And going from there, I will deliver my state during the elections. As the chairman, you must deliver your place first, since they say that charity begins at home. I will deliver my place and then proceed to win other states and regions.

My agenda for the party will be based on 3Rs: Rebuild, Reposition and Regain.  I will want to remain focused on it in terms of building the party. As we are doing that, we do it together with the other two – repositioning in terms of membership, going digital and mostly emphasising on the youth who are leaders of tomorrow.

The general impression is that if you become the National Chairman of the PDP, the South West would be considered for Vice Presidency slot to give APC the big fight. How true is that permutation?

If I become the chairman, I will not look at the permutation of the APC on how to win elections. I have a different strategy on how to win elections. So it has to be about collective leadership. Our first assignment is to determine who our presidential candidate becomes and the choice of the running mate will be the exclusive right of the candidate. So we are not positioning that. We are not going to say it should come from here or from there.

Professor Adeniran, one of your co-aspirants, has alleged a plot by the outgoing national chairman to impose you and there are also allegations that you did not manage the resources when you served as acting national chairman.

80 percent of the time, rumours is more than the fact. This is Nigerian politics for you. Speculations and imaginations engulf most of our thinking. But I believe that the media will do more findings than just headline news. There is no truth in it that Wike drafted me to do Makarfi’s bidding. I’m close to virtually all the governors, and I consulted all of them, including the BoT Chairman.

In truth, I have never sat down with Makarfi on how to become Chairman; all those are speculations. This is pull-down syndrome. There is no iota of truth in it. I have no arrangement with Makarfi; no one is trying to impose me on people. I have been there before. I contested as National Organising Secretary, I have contested for Deputy National Chairman, I acted as National Chairman of our party. These are records that you can cross check.

On the issue of what Mu’azu left, again, this is a calculated attempt to blackmail me by whosoever is behind it whether from within or outside, I don’t want to mention names. For anybody to say N9billion was missing or N9 billion was left, it means that money was not even used for the election. The money realised was about N11 billion from sales of forms nationwide. And in our guidelines and constitutions, when you realise such money, it is shared among the local governments, the states, the zones and the national.

Even the mere mention of N9 billion means, no money was given to them as I mentioned above. I want to plead with you to get into the secretariat, there is a Director of Finance, there is an acting Treasurer, go and find out the fact not taking blackmail or headline news from other people. These are sponsored by some people.

After the 30 percent was shared, you can do the mathematics yourself; money was kept for completion of our national headquarters. There was no money at all that we met. Now, the money that was kept was about N5 billion while Mua’zu was still the chairman.

The truth is that, after we lost the presidential election, we could not raise the money for other elections.

So the leaders looked and said that the money that was reserved should be used. I was still in Rivers State when the Chairman called all of us from our states and said they could not get money to disburse again. So, the Chairman disbursed the money.

Let me tell you I’ve been Chairman of PDP in Rivers State; I was never found wanting. I was National Organising Secretary, I raised the money in 2011, and I was not found wanting. If you recall, Taraba election was inconclusive. There was repeat election in Taraba, Imo and I think in Abia. All these were expenses of the party. By the time we returned, of course, Mu’azu gave us account of all money, all the money had been used apart from payment of salaries and a few things that we needed while the other balance was still in the bank.

I challenge you to go to the Secretariat to get your figures accurately because I may not be accurate with figures.  But no money was missing apart from N500 million that the bank seized. The issue of missing N9 billion is to misinform the people to change their minds against some of us who want to contest.

When I appeared before the Senate caucus, on my own, I shed light on the alleged missing money. Some of them brought money to me but I rejected it, and I said they should go and use the money for the election. I have been mentored to know that money destroys in politics.

What is your plan B as you prepare for the convention?

My plan B is to support anybody that wins that day. It can be me, and I will be very glad and thank God. But if someone else emerges, I will support him because I am a team player.