By Emmanuel Aziken
Given the kind of theatrics that come with political campaigns, it was not surprising that some mischief-makers in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, used the name of the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to mock the opposition during the recent campaigns.
Despite the royal honorific, the APC social media proponents took it to town that Prince Uche was designated to lead the PDP to a second place. After all, his name is Secondus!
It now seems that Prince Secondus, hailed by admirers as Total Chairman and who had in the past been praised for his political acumen may yet be living to his name in pulling his party down at strategic opportunities.
While he was praised in some circles for managing a successful campaign despite the taunts of the APC social media soldiers, the jury out there is that he failed to provide leadership during the 2018 Osun governorship election.
Osun was a state many believed was there for the taking given the record of the former administration in the state. However, at about the most critical period of wheeling-dealing, the PDP national leadership was missing in action. And when present, was politically inept.
Now, a development in the House of Representatives is another avoidable bungle that is smearing the Secondus leadership of the PDP.
The decision of the leadership to project Mr. Kingsley Chinda as the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives is one that has astounded many partisans of the opposition party.
The shock is in the nepotistic ascription that has been given to the choice of a Rivers man to become the number three man in the party that has a Rivers man as chairman. That is despite the vote of the majority of the PDP caucus for another person.
Yes, the PDP was subtle in criticizing President Muhammadu Buhari’s choice of appointments last week that showed the first 10 aides from one ethnic bloc and all from one religion.
Nigerians from outside the president’s catchment area for juicy appointments may have given up on seeing President Buhari make the kind of broadminded appointments as were made by Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo.
But there are still some appointments being made that especially rankle. One of such was the appointment of a new director-general of the Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru.
After staying for more than three years, as acting director-general of NIPSS, Jonathan Juma is to step down for a subordinate, Habu Haladu who has been promoted over him as substantive director-general.
Though not totally shocking given the present inclination of the present leadership, the emotional trauma of reporting to a subordinate who is promoted apparently based on religious and ethnic primordial sentiments is demoralising.
As Dr. Isaiah Osifo wrote in an article published this week, Nigeria succeeds in the field of soccer when we present our best eleven irrespective of where they come from.
As Osifo noted, the man of the match in the Nigeria–South Africa encounter of last Wednesday, Samuel Chukwueze, may not have surfaced in a Nigerian team if the present primordial sentiments used in leadership selection were taken into consideration.
Nigeria is not working because of the leadership recruitment process that puts meritocracy at the lower rung well below tribe and religion. Why Nigeria trashed South Africa was because the nation chose to put her best players forward.
It is against this background that the distress of the PDP can be seen in its faux pas in the House of Representatives.
The act of the national chairman of a political party writing to the presiding officer on who should be the choice of majority or minority leader is itself offensive to democratic ethos. Some presiding officers would certainly not accept such communications!
The PDP has undoubtedly found itself in a bind on the issue of selecting the principal officers of the House of Representatives. The rules do not support the inclinations of the national leadership of a political party telling the legislators who should be their leader!
It was not surprising that the party set up a ten-man committee comprising of many past senior legislators and presiding officers to help it escape from the embarrassing situation it has found itself.
Yes, those who know Prince Secondus speak of his humility and grace. It is understandable that he may have been under extreme pressures in guiding the party in selecting the new minority leader of the House.
The lesson for the Secondus leadership of the PDP is that it cannot afford to make a slip on any issue. Doing otherwise would leave it permanently in second place in everything!