(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – Dialectic, according to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English is “a method of examining and discussing ideas in order to find the truth”. With the successful conclusion of the National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Abuja Saturday/Sunday, it will only be appropriate to put issues in their proper perspectives.
Prince Uche Secondus, from Andoni in Rivers State emerged winner of the Saturday electoral process to choose the national chairman of the PDP. The party had to throw the contest open to eligible aspirants when it became obvious that the chairman cannot emerge by consensus, and imposition was not considered as an option.
While his emergence was not a surprise to some political watchers, it was indeed a rude shock to others, especially some aspirants from the South West who had probably thought that the position of national chairman of the party was theirs for the taking.
However, as the convention date drew closer, and the name of Prince Uche Secondus reverberating across the country as the man to beat, some aspirants began to demand for a micro zoning of the office, but the caretaker leadership of the PDP under Senator Markaffi promptly foreclosed the involvement of the national body, insisting that the office of national chairman has been zoned to the entire south, a euphemism that the position was open for grabs by any eligible contestant from the southern part of Nigeria, just as the presidential ticket has been zoned to the entire north.
With the ‘ jungle maturing’ on Saturday, some of those who correctly read the handwriting on the wall, and understood that they stood no chance promptly withdrew. In this group were Chief Bode George, Otumba Gbenag Daniel, Mr. T. Adegoja, Mr. Aferemi Olusegun, Mr. Jimi Agbaje and Senator Rasheed Ladoja, while the race was left for Prof. Tunde Adeniran, south west consensus candidate; Uche Secondus and Raymond Dokpesi.
Withdrawing from the race, Olabode George, who is a member of the Board of Trustees of the party had blamed Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State of saying in a television program that the division among members of the party in the south west will make it difficult for the party to succeed in its reconciliation plans if the chairman of the party comes from that part of the country.
Although Olabode George tried to whip up sentiments in his misinterpretation of the comment as an aspersion on the south west, he did not fault the claim that the PDP in his zone is not speaking with one voice. He also probably did not consider that, without the tenacity of the south south, where Secondus comes from, that PDP would have become history in Nigeria after the 2015 election defeat in the hands of the All Progressives Congress.
It is important to state that certain features characterize Nigeria’s political process: While the winners will always celebrate, describing the election as free and fair, losers will tell you that the exercise is a fraud, and that election never held. What many people, including contestants fail to understand is that, two people cannot occupy one office at a time. It then follows that in every election, all contestants cannot win. Only one winner will emerge while others have the choice of either challenging the outcome or wait for another opportunity.
In the case of the PDP national convention, pockets of protests were heard before and after the election, but it may probably stop at that level because the contestants, prior to the election agreed to accept the outcome.
It therefore follows that all contestants will have to join hands with the winner, Uche Secondus to advance the cause of the PDP, so that, like he said in his acceptance speech, reposition the party to contend and return to power in 2019.
There is no doubt that the election that threw up Prince Secondus held, and his emergence was a product of strategic thinking and actions. With President Muhammadu Buhari likely going to seek a second term with Prof. Yemi Osibanjo in 2019, it only makes a good political sense for the PDP to zone its Vice – Presidential ticket to the south west and the presidential ticket to the north. This way, outcome of 2019 election will then be dependent on party affiliations, and no more tribal and religious considerations as it was the case in the last presidential election where the north generously voted for Buhari, against President Good luck Jonathan, a southern Christian.
All considered, the decision of the PDP to settle for Uche Secondus was an expedient one. It is now up to the south west to see the political wisdom in the emergence of Secondus, work with the leadership of the party and other stakeholders to see that an influential candidate is given to the party to run for the number two office with the presidential candidate who will emerge from the north.
This political calculation easily diffuses the misinterpretation in some quarters that PDP is again marginalising the south west. At the end of the day, the interest of every zone will be considered, providing the right atmosphere for the PDP to bounce back to reckoning in Nigeria.
In winning, Prince Secondus, a former national deputy chairman, and at a time, acting national chairman of the PDP got 2000 votes. He was followed by Prof. Adeniran with 230 votes, while Raymond Dokpesi got 66 votes.
As it is public knowledge, the PDP in Nigeria has tasted the fire of humiliation. The world is therefore anxious to see if they have learnt their lessons, enough to emerge a fine steel in 2019.