Former acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Uche Secondus, has been elected as the National Chairman of the party.
Secondus scored 2,000 votes out of 2,396 votes cast at the party’s national convention, which ended in the early hours of Sunday at the Eagle Square, Abuja.
Former Education Minister, ProfessorTunde Adeniran who was Secondus closest rival however stormed out of the Eagle Square, Abuja, venue of the Convention before the completion of the election, alleging fraud.
Chairman of the Electoral Sub-Committee of the convention and former Governor of Benue, Gabriel Suswan, announced the results and said that the election for chairmanship position was keenly contested by four candidates.
“In this contest, nine gentlemen indicated their interests to contest, but here, four of them sent letters of withdrawal and so four were left.
“The other ones we were told have withdrawn but there was no letter to that effect.
“The four gentlemen that contested were Uche Secondus, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Founder of Daar Communications; Prof. Tunde Adeniran, former Education Minister and Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, former Minister of Sports and Special Duties.
“Secondus scored 2,000 votes; Dokpesi, 66; Adeniran, 230 while Adedoja scored no vote,” Suswan said.
The candidates that withdrew were Chief Bode George, former Deputy National Chairman; Gbenga Daniel, Rasheed Ladoja, erstwhile Governors of Ogun and Oyo States, respectively, and Jimi Agbaje, PDP governorship candidate in Lagos State in 2015 elections.
Other elected officers were Sen. Babayo Garmawa, Deputy National Chairman (North); Mr Yemi Akinwunmi, Deputy National Chairman (South); Sen. Umar Tsauri, National Secretary and Mr Agbo Emmanuel, Deputy National Secretary.
Retired Col. Austin Akinbundu is new National Organising Secretary, Yakubu Hassan, Deputy National Organizing Secretary; Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary and Diran Odeyemi, Deputy National Publicity Secretary.
Mr Abdullahi Maibasira emerged National Financial Secretary, Irona Gerald, Deputy National Financial Secretary; Aribisala Adewale, National Treasurer; Wada Masu, Deputy National Treasurer; Adamu Mustapha, National Auditor and Arong Divine, Deputy National Auditor.
Mariya Umar was elected National Women Leader, Umoru Hadiza, Deputy National Women Leader, and Emmanuel Enoidem, National Youth Leader.
The Chairman of the Convention Planning Committee and Governor of Delta, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, commended the Election Sub-Committee for “job well done”.
He also commended all the candidates and delegates who participated in elections and party leaders and members for cooperation that ensured the success of the convention.
Adeniran 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 Sunday 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.