Prince Uche Secondus was coasting home to victory as the next national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last night amidst signs of a fresh crisis in the once ruling party.
Secondus’ closest rival, Professor Tunde Adeniran stormed out of the Eagle Square, Abuja, venue of the PDP national election, alleging fraud.
He protested the emergence of a ‘unity list’ (which contained the names of favoured candidates for the 21 positions available for election yesterday), alleged compulsion of delegates to vote for those on the list, alleged stuffing of ballot boxes and sudden change of ballot boxes midway into the election of candidates.
Adeniran, Education Minister during the Obasanjo presidency, said the affairs of the party should be handed over to the Board of Trustees (BoT) which should conduct a fresh election.
Media mogul and another chairmanship candidate, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, also decried irregularities and malpractices during the proceedings.
Secondus, enjoying the massive backing of PDP governors, was number one on the ‘unity list’.
He took a wide lead once counting of the votes began last night.
Adeniran and Dokpesi were left to struggle for a few votes.
Worried by the development, Adeniran walked out of the convention venue.
According to poll trend monitored by our correspondent, the delegates overwhelmingly endorsed and voted for Secondus.
A former minister, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, said:”The PDP governors and some of our respected elders did their homework and we all agreed to adopt the Unity List which is fair to all.
“We reached a consensus on Secondus and all those on the list as the next members of the National Working Committee.
“The election was a walkover for Secondus and 20 others whose victory will soon be announced.
“In fact, some of those who stepped down earlier also adopted the Unity List and mobilized their state delegates to vote along the list.”
Adeniran and some of his supporters walked out of the Eagle Square, Abuja at about 9.11pm in protest against the adoption of the Unity List and compelling of delegates to vote for those on the list.
The Director of Media of his Campaign Organization, Mr. Taiwo Akeju said the process was highly compromised to achieve a predetermined end.
He accused Governors Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and his Ekiti State counterpart, Ayo Fayose of imposing Secondus on the party.
His words: ?”We reject the entire electoral process. The election has been grossly compromised to achieve a predetermined end. The illegal unity list was prepared by Governors Wike and Ayodele Fayose to foist on the entire delegates.
“Consequently, we submit that this election is a sham and the result therefore is unacceptable and rejected in its entirety.
“We consider this so-called election as a travesty of democracy and due ?process, which further entrenches the unwholesome culture of impunity that has done a great deal of damage to the party? in the past.”
“Our candidate, Prof. Adeniran and his supporters have just walked out of the convention because the election was a sham.
“The PDP governors came up with Unity List and they and their foot soldiers were forcing delegates to vote for those on the list.
“We were shocked to witness open stuffing of ballot boxes and replacement of boxes against our candidate. The election was not free and fair, it was a sad day for democracy in Nigeria.”
A former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Olanrewaju Suleiman said he would not accept the result of election into the office of the National Publicity Secretary because the ballot box omitted one of his names, leaving delegates confused.
“I won’t accept the results, I have written the electoral committee and I will go to court,” he said.
Suleiman, in his petition entitled “Unlawful Exclusion of Prof. Abubakar Olanrewaju Suleiman and the Demand For Cancellation of Election into the office of National Publicity Secretary” said: “I am constrained to write to demand for cancelation of election into the office of National Publicity Secretary of our great Party in the on-going Elective Party Convention on the ground of unlawful exclusion of my name as one of candidates contesting for the above mentioned post of Party.
“I am one of the candidates of the above mentioned post in the ongoing elective party convention having obtained application form, duly screened and my candidacy approved to stand for the election.
“I have also campaigned across the Nation seeking the support of the bonafide delegates to the convention.
“To my chagrin and utter constellation, I was informed that my name was conspicuously missing from the list of candidates vying for the post of National Publicity Secretary which lists were pasted in booths earmarked for voting into the office of National Publicity Secretary.
“My names are Prof Abubakar Olanrewaju Suleiman, with Suleiman as my surname, a name I have borne and by which I am known by all and sundry. Needless to say this is the name by which I am identify by my teeming supporters who where unlawfully disenfranchised. Suffice to mention that at no time did I hold myself out to bear other name without any other name but ABUBAKAR OLANREWAJU SULEIMAN, Olanrewaju merely being my middle name.
“I therefore pray that the august body would do right by me by cancelling the purported election of today…”
A former Political Editor of ThisDay, Mr. Kola Ologbodiyan was the favoured candidate for the national publicity secretary on the Unity List.
Ologbodiyan has the backing of former Senate President David Mark.
The PDP has been enmeshed in a serious leadership crisis since losing power in the 2015 presidential election.
It broke into two factions with Senator Ali Modu Sheriff leading one and Senator Ahmed Makarfi leading the other until the Supreme Court proclaimed the Makarfi faction as the legal one.
The Makarfi-led interim National Committee was formally dissolved yesterday.
PDP 2017 Convention Unity List
S/N POSITION NAME STATE ZONE
1 NATIONAL CHAIRMAN PRINCE UCHE SECONDUS RIVERS SOUTH-SOUTH
2 DEPUTY NAT. CHAIR. SOUTH ELDER YEMI AKINWONMI OGUN SOUTH-WEST
3 DEP. NAT. CHAIRMAN NORTH SEN. GAMAWA BABAWA GARBA BAUCHI NORTH EAST
4 NATIONAL SECRETARY SENATOR IBRAHIM TSAURI KATSINA NORTH-WEST
5 DEPUTY NAT. SECRETARY DR. AGBO EMMANUEL BENUE NORTH-CENTRAL
6 NATIONAL TREASURER HON. ARIBISALA ADEWALE EKITI SOUTH-WEST
7 DEP. NATIONAL TREASURER ALH. WADA MASU KANO NORTH-WEST
8 FINANCIAL SECRETARY ABDULLHAI HUSSEINI MAIBASARA NIGER NORTH-CENTRAL
9 DEP. FIN. SEC HON. IRONA ALPHONSUS GERALD IMO SOUTH-EAST
10 NAT. ORG. SECRETARY COL. AUSTIN AKOBUNDU (RTD) ABIA SOUTH-EAST
11 DEP. NAT. ORG. SECRETARY BARR. HASSAN YAKUBU NASARAWA NORTH-EAST
12 PUBLICITY SECRETARY KOLA OLOGBONDIYAN KOGI NORTH-CENTRAL
13 DEP. NAT. PUB. SECRETARY HON. DIRAN ODEYEMI OSUN SOUTH-WEST
14 NATIONAL LEGAL ADVISER BAR. EMMANUEL ENOIDEM AKWA IBOM SOUTH-SOUTH
15 DEP. NAT. LEGAL ADVISER BAR. AHMED BELLO LIMAN SOKOTO NORTH-WEST
16 NATIONAL AUDITOR MAI ADAMU MUSTAFA YOBE NORTH-EAST
17 DEP. NAT. AUDITOR MISS DIVINE AMINA ARONG CROSS RIVER SOUTH SOUTH
18 NATIONAL WOMEN LEADER HAJ. MARIYA WAZIRI KEBBI NORTH-WEST
19 DEP. NAT. WOMEN LEADER UMORU ADIZET AUDREY HADIZAT EDO SOUTH-SOUTH
20 NAT. YOUTH LEADER RT. HON. UDEH OKOYE ENUGU SOUTH-EAST
21 DEP. NAT. YOUTH LEADER UMAR BABANGIDA MAINA ADAMAWA NORTH-EAST.