After every contest, winners and losers must emerge. Olawale Olaleye identifies those who won and lost at last Saturday’s National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party
Even when the standard expectation is that a winner and a loser must emerge in any contest, Nigeria’s politicians hardly go to an election, thinking the tide might swing against them. Everyone seeking an elective office in Nigeria always does so with one thing at the back of his mind: to win.
This is why every contest, is followed by barrage of litigations. Maybe at the party level, it might be minimal. But it is also evident from some of the pre-election developments that the outcome of last Saturday’s convention might have left the partly divided as some remain unhappy amidst the jubilation of others.
Whilst it is expected that the new leadership will kick-off by first taking up the assignment to reconcile the aggrieved parties, here are some of the winners and losers below:
Former President Goodluck Jonathan led the PDP to electoral defeat in 2015 after 16 years of holding down power at the centre. He had since lived with the guilt of causing his party and its members a terrible heartbreak, compounded by the leadership crisis that broke out shortly after.
But he had also made conscious effort to reconcile the party members amid differing interests. Thus, with this phase done and over with, 2019 is the next focus for Jonathan, who is now leading the campaign of against the APC. He is a winner.
Leader of the National Caretaker Committee of PDP, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, assumed leadership position at a most difficult time, when the leadership crisis in the party was at its peak. He however weathered the storm and stood like the Rock of Gibraltar behind the party until his faction of the PDP won at the Supreme Court against Ali Modu Sheriff. He also led the party to a successful convention. He is a happy winner by all standards.
The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike has remained a recurring decimal since the party lost in 2015. The idea of bringing Ali Modu Sheriff, who shook and unsettled the party for over a year, was his. And yet, either by accident or design, he has successfully installed the new chairman. He is a major winner, because he literally has PDP in his pocket now with Uche Secondus as national chairman.
Like Siamese twins, Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose has consistently tagged along with Wike in the recent trajectory of the party. They both brought in Sheriff and they are both together on the Secondus assignment. Therefore, they are both winners. Fayose is though believed to have traded off the chances of the South-west because he looks forward to becoming a presidential running mate to whoever picks the party’s ticket; he is still a winner as his candidate has emerged.
The new National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus is the ultimate winner. Rising from being deputy national chairman of the party to becoming the acting national chair, who took over from Adamu Muazu, who was forced to resign, Secondus has waltzed his way to the very top of contemporary party politics in the PDP. He won in a landslide.
The South-east and the South-south regions, which gave-in to the Secondus chairmanship bid pressure at the last minute, are winners because their gamble has paid off. They had delayed which direction to go for some obvious intrigues that had heightened at the last minute. It was not a bad decision after all.
One of the latest entrants into the PDP and presidential hopeful, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is yet another winner at the PDP convention. Although there had been speculations that he was an ally of Professor Tunde Adeniran, one of the chairmanship hopefuls from South-west, the fact that Atiku is keen about the overall well-being of the PDP and the future of the country makes him an undisputed winner.
Old PDP Members
In all, the biggest winners at the PDP national convention are the old members, who believed in the ideals of the party, the dreams of the founding fathers and resolved to withstand the sufferings that came along with leadership crisis which lasted over a year. They are the real winners.
South-west and Its Candidates
The South-west geo-political zone lost big time in the just concluded PDP national convention as it failed to have the seat exclusively zoned to it. Whilst the party’s NWC had agreed to have the seat zoned to South, another decision was allegedly taken at the Southern level to zone it to the South-west, which immediately threw up the likes of Chief Bode George, Professor Tunde Adeniran, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, Senator Rashidi Ladoja and Chief Taoheed Adedoja.
But that understanding was thwarted by the candidates from South-south, who didn’t think the South-west deserved it. This is why one after the other, they all either stepped down or withdrew from the race except Adeniran, who ran it through with Secondus and Chief Raymond Dopkesi. He too later walked out of the venue, alleging cheating. As it turned out, they all lost and the South-west lost big.
Chairman of Daar Communications and chairmanship hopeful from the South-south, Chief Raymond Dokpesi is yet another loser. He was one of those who came out strongly for the chairmanship of the PDP and indeed, vehemently sold the idea that South-south was eligible. But he lost and had out of disappointment, dismissed the party as unlikely to make any impact in next election.
Ali Modu Sheriff
Former National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, who took over from Secondus as acting chairman is one of the biggest losers from yesterday’s exercise. Not only did he take the party through emotional trauma and political instability, he further wasted a lot of its time from planning and thinking ahead. The Supreme Court ruling which de-recognised his leadership paved the way for the peace that would later culminate in yesterday’s convention.
The Senator representing Ogun East, Buruji Kashamu is another loser at the PDP convention. Kashamu was suspended last Wednesday by the Makarfi leadership for a month without any reason. But it was later gathered that the decision was informed by the ruling of a Federal High Court, Abuja, which struck out a suit by Kashamu, asking it to stop the party from taking any disciplinary action against him. Although he rejected the suspension, he was unable to stay at the convention let alone vote. He is a loser.