Some leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other stakeholders within and outside the opposition party, want Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State to switch off his support for Prince Uche Secondus,a frontline contestant for the position of the national chairman of the party.
Secondus, a former acting national chairman of the PDP, like Wike, is from Rivers State.
It was learnt that the position of the PDP leaders, most of whom are members of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), as well as former political office holders in previous PDP administrations at the federal level, was conveyed to the Rivers State governor through some of his allies within the party who have been busy in the last few weeks trying to explain Wike’s roles in the build up to the party’s December convention.
Party leaders, according to reliable sources, are of the opinion that the national chairmanship should be conceded to the Southwest in the interest of party unity and cohesion.
“It is on the strength of this that some of our leaders have been appealing to the Governor to dump Secondus and support the Southwest’s bid to produce the national chairman,” a source told The Nation.
It was gathered that two groups of PDP leaders reached out to the Governor during the week while a former President also urged him to consider withdrawing his support for Secondus in the interest of the party.
The source said:”Following concerns over what could happen to the PDP after the convention if the Southwest is denied the national chairmanship, party stakeholders resolved to put their differences aside and reach out to all the gladiators in the ongoing politics of zoning with a view to appealing to them all to put the party first. One person that the leaders are currently mounting pressure on is Governor Nyesom Wike.
“It is strongly believed that his alleged support for Secondus is the major hindrance to the resolution of the current impasse. And following denials by both the national chairman of the caretaker committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, and the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, that they are not favouring Secondus, Wike, who has never denied supporting Secondus, is seen as the man to appeal to.
“Some party chieftains from across the country have reached out to him. More people, even from outside the party, are also talking to him on the need for him to support the Southwest in producing the next national chairman. While it is not certain if he will agree, talks are still on and the events of the next few days will point to the direction the Governor is willing to go,” a PDP BoT member told The Nation on at the weekend.
The Nation gathered that while many of the leaders and stakeholders are appreciative of the efforts and sacrifices of both Wike and Secondus in keeping the party together, especially during the trying periods, there is a strong belief among chieftains of the PDP that the loss of the national chairmanship by the Southwest at the convention is capable of igniting a fresh crisis in the party.
Based on what many of the concerned chieftains are describing as the realities of the current era, permutations are that the PDP needs the Southwest in its fold in its quest to defeat the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 presidential election, and as such, everything must be done to keep the zone happy and committed to the party till then.
A top source in the PDP said; “Secondus is a great guy. He is eminently qualified to lead the party at a time like this. But the realities of our situation suggest that we consider the Southwest for the position if we are to go to the 2019 presidential election as a united, virile and formidable political party. That informs the appeal to Governor Wike to reconsider his choice of candidate.
“Governor Wike, Secondus and others in that camp are being appealed to. They are reputable statesmen and dependable party men and women. We have resolved to seek an amicable resolution of the logjam before the convention date. That is why party leaders and other statesmen are talking to all those involved in the current zoning issue. We are more optimistic than we were two weeks ago as the talks continue.”