Secondus: PDP governors’ six-hour meeting deadlocked

• Chairman knows fate today
• I will not resign, Secondus talks tough
• Governors grill national chairman, to consult BoT, NASS caucus on decision
• Dickson faults calls for Secondus’ resignation
• APC crisis: Panic as security personnel besiege secretariat

All 13 governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, rose from a marathon six-hour meeting without categorical pronouncement on resolving the crisis rocking the party.

As it stands, Prince Uche Secondus, PDP national chairman, still endures an uncertain fate, as the meeting convenes again today.

At the meeting, which held at the Akwa Ibom State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja, the governors were unable to find a way out of the lingering leadership crisis following persistent calls for the resignation of the national chairman.x

Addressing newsmen at the end of the meeting, Sokoto State governor and chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Aminu Tambuwal, expressed readiness of the governors to continue the meeting with other stakeholders, like the Board of Trustees (BoT) and National Assembly caucus, until the Secondus issue is resolved.

The decision to meet with the BoT and other stakeholders is to carry them along to avoid what might be termed arbitrary decision.

“Very soon, Nigerians, and indeed all of you, will hear our resolution. But we are working towards resolving all issues, as a family. By the grace of God, we are going to achieve that,” he said.

Although Secondus arrived the venue of the meeting hours after it had kicked off, he remained defiant that he won’t resign from office.

It was gathered that the governors subjected Secondus to serious ‘grilling’ that lasted 40 minutes. The questioning had to do with series of allegations, including misappropriation of party funds and deliberate manipulation of party affairs resulting in serious divisions in the organs of the party.

But after the meeting, Secondus simply told newsmen that: “I can confirm that I will never resign.” He avoided any other questions and walked away.

“No, I am not going to resign,” he said, when asked if he would throw in the towel, before he jumped into a waiting car shortly after he arrived.

The governors’ indecision was said to be related to the indictment against Secondus by six members of the National Working Committee (NWC), who appended their signatures in demand for Secondus’ resignation. A report containing those allegations was submitted to the governors’ forum.

The meeting was attended by Governors Oluseyi Makinde (Oyo), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta) and Godwin Obaseki (Edo).

Others at the meeting were Samuel Ortom (Benue), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Adamu Fintiri (Adamawa), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Douye Diri (Bayelsa) and Darius Ishaku (Taraba).

Former Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Seriake Dickson, however, has condemned calls for the resignation of the embattled PDP chairman. Protesters had stormed the party’s national secretariat in Abuja yesterday, calling for his resignation.

But Senator Dickson, who represents Bayelsa West in the Senate, said the “illegal” National Working Committee meeting and PDP caucus in the House of Representatives, including the Monday protest, were part of the plot to contrive a needless crisis in the PDP to set up a caretaker committee, which he said would be illegal.

According to him, Secondus could either be removed by the national convention or choose to resign on his volition.

He said: “There is no crisis in the party. What is happening is only a contrived media crisis orchestrated and funded by some people with a motive to hijack the party without subjecting themselves and their cronies to a democratic vote at the convention, which is due in less than four months.

“This has nothing to do with Secondus’ performance but a coup against a major democratic institution in Nigeria and must be resisted and stopped by all lovers of democracy and all men of good conscience in Nigeria.

“The decamping of governors and other leaders is not the fault of Secondus. It happens from time to time in all political parties from 1999 till date. The PDP has received governors, presiding officers of the National Assembly and other political leaders under Secondus and will continue to do so after this crisis.

“Since we lost the 2015 elections, Secondus has laboured to keep the party in spite of harassment, campaigned round to support candidates without the so-called ‘taxation’, which has been put to an end in the party. He is one of the most experienced political party administrators in the party and in the country right from his days as NPN youth leader till date. He has seen it all and done it all.

“The whole issue is that Secondus insists that party decisions should be taken by all stakeholders and not by a few, especially decisions about the direction of the party in 2023.”

MEANWHILE, there was panic among staffers of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) yesterday, due to the presence of heavily armed security personnel at the national secretariat of the party.

The Guardian observed that a detachment of heavily armed police and Department of Security Services (DSS) personnel positioned themselves at strategic locations within the precinct of the party secretariat, situated at No. 40, Blantyre Street, Wuse 2, Abuja.

A source at the party secretariat told The Guardian that the presence of security personnel was preempted by the rumour that aggrieved members of the party had perfected plans to storm the secretariat and unleash mayhem.

APC’s caretaker secretary, Senator James Akpanudoedehe, who spoke to reporters, explained that the measure was aimed at protecting life and property in the party secretariat.

He maintained that the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led leadership remains on firm ground notwithstanding the position of those opposed to his continuous stay in office.

“The police is here to strengthen the leadership of Governor Buni, the caretaker chairman of the APC. What do I mean by that? Whenever you read a security situation, when you have a security report that we are privy to, it is incumbent on our part to strengthen it so that we can protect you and the property of APC.

“APC cannot be embarrassed because it has the national government. So, we have to take measures to forestall any happening. We cannot underestimate security report. You cannot play down on it. You have a security report, you can’t take laws into your hands. You don’t expect us to call thugs to defend the secretariat of the party.”

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