saturday’s outcome of the PDP National Convention has altered the subsisting power alculus within the party, writes Olawale Olaleye
A week to the elective national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had given an indication of a stiff contest, triggered by a seemingly fluid scenario. With several gunning for the party’s chairmanship, the interests were no doubt multi-dimensional and the actors, unusually rigid. It was going to be the survival of the fittest, especially when the place of money seemed to have been initially relegated, considerably. The goal was clear!
Unfortunately, those were mere assumptions, not supported by any reliable facts and figures. It took just 24 hours of high-power networking, alleged deployment of huge funds and an insane political horse-trading to unsettle some of the earlier extrapolations, which today, paved the way for the new power equation in the former ruling party.
It is, therefore, no longer news that the new chairman of the PDP, after a hotly contested election, is a former deputy national chairman and immediate past acting national chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, from Rivers State.
Evidently a protégé of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Secondus rose from the position of obscurity in the earlier calculations of the chairmanship race to emerge the man to beat. His governor, Wike, had taken his candidacy upon himself, rallied his colleagues, other key regions and the stakeholders in the party to give Secondus the edge that eventually led him to victory.
From first securing the endorsement of Rivers State PDP to the South-south region and South-east before finally penetrating the northern caucuses, Secondus rose stoutly to become the man to beat, thus altering whatever subsisting equation that was in the lead up to the exercise. If anything, the initial thinking was that the new chairman of the PDP would come from South-west. But Wike’s power of networking and consensus-building put a stop to the South-west’s quest.
However, in what appears like history might be repeating itself in the emerging political calculus of the nation, another man from Rivers State, Wike, might be the cynosure of attention in the 2019 elections as the balance of power seems to weigh heavily in his favour, effectively counting more from yesterday’s convention.
This appears synonymous to the role the immediate past governor of the state, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, played in the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. While it may be true that the correct account of the Buhari presidency might have been adulterated by vested interests, there is no contradicting the role of Amaechi in the emergence of Buhari, starting from his victory at the party’s convention as its standard bearer to the general election.
It may not be completely out of place to situate some selfish projections in the resolve of Amaechi to have Buhari push out former President Goodluck Jonathan, who incidentally is from his part of the country, what was more pronounced was the narrative that the nation was almost grounded by corruption, insecurity and general lack of capacity as well as the will power to make hard choices, all of which were believed to have defined the era before the coming of Buhari.
As if a dramatic turn of fate, practically all the issues that converged to chase Jonathan out of office are still very much alive and there is gradual surge from within the PDP to seize power back from APC, a movement of like-minds about to be led by another Rivers man and a sitting governor, Wike.
What is however not certain in the case of Wike is for what purpose he has elected to lead the movement? Is he in this to negotiate and secure his place in the emerging equation, because unlike Amaechi, he is a first time governor, who badly seeks re-election in 2019? But could it be that he is in this to ‘change the change’ as the new slogan that is subtly pervading the polity?
Whichever way, one thing is certain: the power lever in the PDP has been significantly altered and all the subsisting equations are subject to the kind of change that only suits the ‘aims and objectives’ of those behind the ‘legit coup’ that has just seen the PDP emerge from an elective convention.