South-west group backs aspirant
A foremost contestant for the seat of the Chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, has said he remains the best and most qualified candidate to lead the party. Secondusâ€™s declaration is coming ahead of this weekend choice of who leads a one-time Africaâ€™s most biggest party.
In a statement issued by his media office and signed by Bisi Ezekiel, and made available to THISDAY, Secondus said considering all factors and indices, no other aspirant is more qualified than him to lead the PDP.
He lashed out at his critics describing his candidature as that of courage, experience and determination for repositioning the party for victory in 2019.
Noting his records as a party leader and activist, Secondus dared other aspirants to tell the party what political battles they had won and what political school they passed out from, stressing that he has passed through tough political baptism.
The statement read in part: â€œWe have passed through political hell in the hands of the opposition. We are not scared of them. We are ready to lead our party to victory. How many of my fellow aspirants can lay claim to our records and courage in the face of political persecution?
â€œIn 2019, the race is for the compassionately tough as the ruling party will go after our party. We need a leader of my records and background for total victory. We are not lily livered politicians. We have faced political fire and we have survived. They attack us because they know we are the leading contender and I challenge them to compare their records with my ownâ€, the statement said.
The statement also accused other aspirants of running a campaign of falsehood and character assassination, insisting that with a solid home base and regional support alongside wide network of friends,â€ I have the credential and the antecedents to take our party to Aso Rock.
â€œMy accusers are scared of me and party delegates know why they are. They attack me severally because they donâ€™t have my records. I have been the chairman before and I know what it takes to reposition the party.
â€œWe are not worried about the gang up as we have reached out to all delegates. They know my capacity, they know my plans and they know we are the winning camp. We premise our campaign on merit, not ethnicity and religious sentimentsâ€™, the statement noted.
The statement affirmed that â€œPDP needsÂ leaders who have taken and are still willing to take political bullet for the party; leaders who have refused to be intimidated and are still tackling intimidation from oppressive federal officials; andÂ leaders who have sworn to symbolically die for the party to make it regain power come 2019.
Meanwhile, a South-west group, Oodua PDP Alliance, has drummed support for Secondus and called on the South-west to drop the bid for the party leadership.
In a statement signed by the leader of the group who is also a leader of PDP in Osun State, Hon Hakeem Ogunsola, the group affirmed that South-west has proved its unpreparedness for the party leadership, affirming that â€œthe leadership should go to South-south, the main base of the PDP.
â€œWe want to note that rebuilding the PDP and winning power back in 2019 demand a chairman with solid home base, deep experience and capacity to face the power of incumbency. We need Secondus to lead this electoral and political battles to rescue Nigeria and change the fake change,â€ the statement noted.
While condemning the discordant and rancorous competition among South-west chairmanship aspirants ,the group said â€œSouth-west does not need party chairmanship. If anything we should rally round Secondus and seek better offer in arrangement of national offices.
â€œHow can you be going for chairmanship when there are better bargaining to strike? How can you hope to lead the party when your zone isÂ not a stronghold of the PDP? How can you even be taken seriously when many of your aspirants carry heavy baggage? We donâ€™t want party chairman in South West. Let Secondus have itâ€, the group opined.
The group which claimed to have members across the six south Western states announced its resolve to mobilise the Yoruba axis of the PDP for Secondus, describing the Rivers State politician as â€œtested, experienced and competent to lead the party.
â€œSecondus has party leadership experience nobody can rival. He has the boldness, the national recognition ,the will and the passion to pilot the affairs of the party. He is the best to lead the party at this critical times.
â€œWith this press statement, we are putting the whole nation on notice that we align with South-south and Secondus. We have commenced advocacy and mobilisation and we urged South-west aspirants to drop their ambitions and bargain for betterÂ national governmental positions,â€ the statement concluded.