By: Ike Abonyi.
Exactly two years ago, precisely on December 11, 2017, Prince Uche Secondus entered Wadata Plaza, the National Secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the 13th National Chairman of the main opposition party with the following words on marble.
“As I resume today as the National Chairman of this great party, I come with an open heart, open arms with our doors ajar to welcome all lovers of true democracy.
PDP under my leadership is open to accommodate all those who desire for this country to have free and robust political activities.
I intend to create a level playing ground and a conducive environment for all to bring in their God given talent to help rescue this country from the obvious lack of direction of the APC administration.
It’s now clear to all political watchers that the onus of saving our democracy and our country rests squarely on the PDP and this is what my leadership tends to pursue vigorously.
In the coming days and months, PDP under my watch will introduce an all-inclusive system that would carry along every member with goodwill.
We are calling on all Nigerians to be patient with us as we begin this process of rebuilding, repositioning with the ultimate goal of regaining power at all levels in this country.
Nigerians are yearning for us and we have no choice but to rise up to the challenge.
I therefore call on all our members who left the party in the past for various reasons to return and be part of this second chance history in making under a Secondus”
That was the entry remarks of Prince Secondus at the party’s Wadata Plaza as he alerted from his car at the gate trekking to his office to assume duties and to symbolically demonstrate the all-inclusive policy he intends to push as the leader of the party.
Prior to this 24 hours earlier on 10th December, 2017 at Eagles Square, Abuja he was elected the National Chairman at the party’s National Convention.
In his acceptance speech he had given his policy direction which was encompassed in 3Rs- rebuilding, repositioning to regain.
The party badly needed a fresh touch and Prince Secondus was well aware having been part of the party’s daunting problems including the battle to rescue it from those who came purposely to auction away the party.
To be able to reposition and rebuild the party, a lot of old ways needed to give way, internal democracy the party’s biggest challenge must be restored.
Also to be restored are the core values of the founding fathers of the party which are anchored on the basic tenets of democracy, rule of law and freedom.
Prince Secondus started immediately by decentralizing power watering down the almighty influence of Wadata Plaza where party ticket in the past could be purchased or made available to the highest bidder.
Many still driven by the past doubted him when he said that under his watch, flag bearers of the party at all levels must be popular persons with deep grassroots touch who can win elections.
A lot of the party’s flagbearers at various elective positions in last general elections did not believe what they saw that they could pick PDP ticket without first ferrying some Ghana must go bags to Wadata Plaza in Abuja.
Perhaps the height of Prince Secondus two-year reign was in October 2018 in Port Harcourt, Rivers state when the democracy watchers waited for the imploding of the party believing the soothsayer’s prediction that the party would not be able come out of Port Harcourt intact.
But against the book maker’s calculations it turned out to be the party’s finest hour.
Becoming the best Presidential primaries ever to be conducted by any political party in Nigeria’s history.
Rather than implode the party came out of Port Harcourt stronger and more united.
All the 11 Presidential aspirants who contested and lost agreed unanimously to line behind the eventual winner the former Vice President of Nigeria Atiku Abubakar.
How did you do it was always the question to Secondus and his answer was ‘its God and transparency”.
When the losers saw that they were not short changed or manipulated out and that the ground was level for all they became amenable to see reason and to accept defeat.
This was the spirit Prince Secondus led the party into general elections through one of the most vigorous political campaigns.
The reception of the party by Nigerians across the country was overwhelming since they had earlier believed and accepted Prince Secondus apology to Nigerians on behalf of the party on the short comings of the party that led to their defeat in 2015 but even worse is in causing the entry of APC into the ruling class with all their minuses.
Jittery at the wave Prince Secondus leadership was making and how they were unable to March the rising profile of the party, the ruling APC turned to the dangerous option of using the Electoral Commission and the military to force themselves back to power and that they did disregarding the cries and lamentations of democracy watchers.
Notwithstanding that Secondus was still able to grow the party from control of 11 states to 16 before they came with the November 16, 2019 abracadabra in Bayelsa and Kogi states.
Looking ahead after reviewing the last two years, Prince Secondus says the emergency is over but the battle is not over yet as anti-democratic forces are growing wings by the day.
All institutions of democracy are under threat starting with the Judiciary, the legislature and the press.
He says all hands must be on deck because APC has touched the soul of democracy by disregarding rule of law and the electoral process.
But Secondus relying strongly on his deep faith believes that there is a light at the end of the tunnel because evil exists but never overcomes good.
For him supporters and members of the party must stay strong because when light arrives, darkness will vamoose.