Mr Uche Secondus has been sworn in as National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He was declared winner of the party’s chairmanship election at the end of the National Convention at about 3:30am on Sunday.
He was declared winner of the election after polling 2,000 votes, compared to the 230 votes secured by Professor Tunde Adeniran and the 66 votes of Chief Raymond Dokpesi.
The party also has a new National Secretary in Senator Umar Ibrahim Tsauri who polled a total of 1,549 votes to defeat Alhaji Abubakar Mustapha and Senator Nenadi Usman who garnered 371 and 287 votes respectively.
Senator Gamawa Babawo Garba who emerged the new Deputy National Chairman (North) beating former Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Maryam Inna Ciroma, who many had tipped for the position.
Senator Garba gannered 1316 out of total vote cast while Ciroma polled 350 to settle for second spot on the log. Senator Saidu Kumo who also ran for the position came third after polling a total of 89 votes.
In his acceptance speech, he served the APC a verbal ‘quit notice’, vowing to lead the PDP back to power in 2019.
“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,” he said.
He also said: “In the words of the 34th President of the United States of America Dwight Eisenhower, ‘If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power’.
“Judging from this, it is crystal clear to all Nigerians, that APC is not a political party, but a body hurriedly assembled to seize power without a clear-cut plan for governance.”
The new PDP National Chairman argued that his party was founded on ideals that are “totally in tandem” with those of Nigeria’s founding fathers.
“Those founding fathers had in mind, a prosperous and lasting democracy as captured in the preamble of our constitution, clearly stating their desire for a free and egalitarian society,” he said.
“Even in our perceived failure of 2015, we chose to abide by our strong faith in democracy, willingly conceding power to opposition, thereby elevating the democratic status of Nigeria. We are true democrats.”
Despite stressing that “the PDP’s contributions to the growth and sustenance of democracy in this country in the last 18 years remain unequalled”, Mr Secondus admitted that it was not above mistakes.
“With your mandate, I assure you that all necessary steps will be taken to avoid a repeat of our past mistakes. Indeed, we have learnt our lessons and by this convention, we are now set to forge a new path for our great party and Nigeria,” he said.
“Under my watch, internal democracy will be strictly adhered to with a deliberate policy to return ‘real’ power to the people. No more imposition, no more impunity. Every member of this party can from this moment consider him or herself an equal shareholder in our common destiny.”
He paid tribute to one of the founding fathers of the party, Nigeria’s first Vice President Dr Alex Ekwueme who died on November 19 at a London hospital aged 85.
He also welcomed back to the PDP a former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who dumped the APC on November 24 and returned to the PDP nine days later, on December 3.
Secondus also praised Adeniran and Dokpesi who contested against him for the national chairmanship seat, describing them as eminently qualified to lead the party for the role and thanking them for a “worthy contest”.
“You have every cause to stand tall and I now extend my hand of fellowship to you all. Let ‘Us’ rebuild, reposition and regain,” he said.
Before the results were declared, Adeniran and Dokpes criticised the electoral process, and expressed anger at the emergence of a ‘Unity List’ at the convention which purportedly contained a list of ‘unity candidates’.
The list, allegedly compiled by governors in the party, had Secondus’s name on it as the ‘unity candidate’.
Adeniran as a result, had walked out of the convention ahead of the announcement of results, saying the list was used to rig the election. He called for its cancellation.