By Bisi Ezekiel
There is no way the history of Nigeria's Fourth democratic Republic would be written without mentioning Prince Uche Secondus, current National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
It is on record that this astute politician, a grassroots mobilizer and crisis manager per excellence, piloted the aircraft of the former ruling party from nose diving back to smooth sailing flight.
He worked with other persons of like minds in the party to rescue PDP from being forgotten in the dump side of political history after reigning supremely for 16 uninterrupted years in governance.
Before Secondus came on board, the large umbrella holding together the PDP family has almost been literally being turn to shred by the leadership crisis over who controls the soul of the party.
Series of litigation followed the chairmanship tussle between former governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Makarfi and former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff who joined PDP from the APC.
The party began losing its hold on the country towards the 2015 election at the emergence of another strong opposition party – the All Progressive Congress (APC) formed partly by the aggrieved members of the ruling PDP.
Not only that, the party became weak through the emergence of a deadly Islamic insurgency led by an Islamic group called Boko Haram which engulfed nearly all parts of Northern Nigeria.
But the final stroke came when its strong opposition, the APC, through its candidate in the person of Mohammadu Buhari defeated Jonathan.
The party did not only lose its grip on the presidency, it also lost its majority seats in the National Assembly and many of its stronghold states
The continuous internal fights led to the majority of its members decamping to other parties with a majority crossing to the ruling All Progressive Congress.
Then, the party obviously need someone with a strong will to salvage it from the brink.
Against many odds, Secondus contested for the chairmanship of the he party and took over the reins on December 10, 2017 ,after acting as interim chairman and vowed to re-position it back to its glorious days.
In fact, the foundation of Secondus’ victory could be attributed to the his influence among party chairmen in the states and several other stakeholders in the party.
He swung into action almost immediately after his election to reconcile aggrieved party members and sell to them his three prong mission of "rebuilding, re-positioning and regaining' lost glory of the party.
Secondus is a man well-versed with party politics in Nigeria and looks very much prepared for the chairmanship job.
He said those who wanted to lead the PDP must be ready to “deliver” their zones during the 2019 elections. “I will deliver my place and then proceed to win other states and regions,” he boasted.
He took as his core mandate, confronting and pushing President Buhari and the ruling APC out of power and he reiterated his mission in his victory speech.
He said “By my understanding, the mandate you have given us today is clear and unambiguous. It is to return our party to power come 2019. As Herculean as this mandate seems, I know it’s achievable.
"Let me assure you great members and leaders of our party, that by the grace of God and with all hands on deck, the brief tenancy of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Aso Rock Villa expires on May 28, 2019. “By this, we serve them a quit notice,” .
Not minding the party’s rise and fall, Secondus, with the help of committed PDP members struggled to keep the house united as they remain optimistic that the party would recover its past glory come 2019.
Secondus would be remembered by party members for piloting PDP to the best adjudged as transparent Presidential primary ever held which produced former vice President Atiku Abubakar as PDP flag bearer in a rancourous free atmosphere in Port- Harcourt.
The Secondus led National Executive Council , National Working Committee and other organs of the party ensured post- convention crisis management and fence mending parley with other 11 contestants who firmly supported Atiku's candidacy.
The energetic chairman led the Presidential campaign train across states of the federation with party top notchers and other aspirants appointed as members of the Presidential campaign Council under the director generalship of Senate President Bukola Saraki.
This oneness of purpose manifested in the great feat achieved by the party in the 2019 General election, in which though it lost the Presidency to the incumbent President Buhari of the APC, the party was able to break into the stronghold of the ruling APC and winning states like Bauchi, Adamawa, Sokoto, Oyo, and lately Zamfara, giving the PDP control over 16 states . PDP as at last count now has about 47 Senators while more seat in the National Assembly may still be won through judicial process at election tribunals
Prior to the 2019 election, Secondus actively played his role as leader of opposition becoming a crusader against seemingly injustices against, selective corruption trials, intimidation and witch hunting of PDP members by agencies of government.
A fierce and fearless fighter for equity, justice and fairness, Secondus led PDP leaders on several protest matches against issues of national interest and matters threatening the party's chances prior to the 2019 polls.
In fact, in one,of such protest, the chairman was tear gassed security agents at the entrance to the Force Headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force.
He is still a great advocate of the party in the ongoing Presidential election petition tribunal at the instance of the party against the election of President Buhari.
The almost 65 years old PDP chairman was born in Andoni , Rivets State on March 22, 1955.
Secondus has been a well rounded politician. He was Rivers State Youth Leader of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in the Second Republic. He served as State Publicity Secretary of National Republican Convention (NRC) from 1993 to 1998. He two term was chairman of Rivers State PDP and Chairman of all PDP State chairmen during which time he earned a he nickname 'Total Chair'.
Ahead of the 2007 general elections, Secondus was handed the position of South South coordinator of the PDP national campaign and became deputy national chairman of the PDP in 2013.
After the 2015 general elections, Secondus became acting chairman of the PDP. He succeeded Adamu Mu’azu who left his job on a sour note
By Bisi Ezekiel