- Says Party Needs New Hands
- Hints At More Defections From Party… Makinde, Ayade Likely
- Describes PDP Leadership As ‘Lameduck Operators’
Prince Kassim Afegbua, former spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has expressed concerns over the leadership qualities of Prince Uche Secondus, the National Chairman of PDP.
According to Afegbua, Secondus cannot manage the upcoming 2023 general elections for the party, adding that he is more interested in his pockets rather than leading the party to victory in the next nationwide polls.
Afegbua, who was also a Commissioner for Information under the administration of former Edo Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, called for the dismissal of the Secondus-led executive committee and replacing it with more proactive executive committee members.
The PDP chieftain during an interview session with the Independent also described the current leadership of the party as “lameduck operators.”
Citing, the recent mass defection of PDP prominent members to the All Progressive Congress (APC), the PDP chieftain berated the party’s National Executive Committee for failing to put the party in order.
It would be recalled that in recent times several top chieftains of the PDP have joined the ruling APC. The politicians include Ebonyi state Governor David Umahi; Onyekachi Nwebonyi, former chairman Ebonyi State PDP; Yakubu Dogara and Dimeji Bankole who are former Speakers of the House of Representatives, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, a former Ogun State Governor, and several House of Representatives members among others.
According to Afegbua, with the level of insecurity in the country, the party ought to be gathering momentum and be seen as an alternative and major force by Nigerians ahead of the build-up to the 2023 polls, however, the lackluster attitude of the party’s leadership has continued to deplete the fortunes of the PDP.
The PDP chieftain also criticized the NEC for failing to take deliberate and proactive steps when Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State was attacked by suspected herdsmen in a most shocking manner.
Recall that Gov. Ortom was recently attacked by suspected herdsmen on his way to his farm, at Tyo-mu community near Makurdi, capital of Benue State.
Afegbua blasted Secondus and his executives for only issuing statements, saying the attack on the Governor should have precipitated to major protests in the country like the APC consistently had before the 2015 polls.
However, Afegbua, called on the party to wake up to its responsibilities by electing vibrant party members in the upcoming National Convention scheduled for December. He noted that the party needs leaders who will bring creative ideas to pursue the goal of the party.
In his words, “You see, I am only sounding a note of caution to anyone who cares to listen that if the PDP is desirous of winning future elections, it must consciously engage in internal reforms to rejig its apparati. The present leadership of the party cannot be sustained to manage the 2023 elections because of several contradictions. They are not interested in victory but their pockets. They build gigantic houses home and abroad and some are even trying to run for gubernatorial elections. The headquarters of the party is left without payment of salaries to staff. There is too much of pretense. They watched on as the party is gradually losing solid members who should be able to add flesh to the body and soul of the party.
“Former Speaker Dogara left the fray, followed by former Governor Gbenga Daniel, former Speaker Dimeji Bankole, a serving Governor, David Umahi also left and thus depleted the fortunes of the party in that zone, and a couple of House of Reps members defecting to the ruling APC that has crippled the economy of the nation, rendering the populace helpless in the face of joblessness and unemployment. The PDP ought to be gaining momentum but the reverse is the case, and you see the leadership displaying such inertia as if all is well. When the APC was looking for power in 2015, it strategically engaged with the Nigerian public. Our PDP leadership and exco members are too overfed with potbellies everywhere unable to constructively engage.
“By now, with solid leadership, the Nigerian audience ought to be looking up to the opposition for alternative voices and solutions to their deafening problems. We need new hands and total overhaul to be able to engage the APC and its marauding mentality. Why would you be talking about zoning at a time when you have not put your house in order. Is it all about the presidency? What are your selling points in 2023? Have you come up with policies and programmes that could respond to our present predicament? Have you been able to sell them to the public in a way that they would look up to the party? What is PDP’s position on the economy that has been grounded by the APC?”
“What is the position of PDP on the insecurity across the country? Have we held workshops and seminars to collate ideas on how to manage the situation? What is our blue-print for combating the insecurity? What about infrastructural decay and the gloomy economic situation that has impoverished the populace? The PDP leadership are just sitting there like lameduck operators waiting for every election to sell forms whose money, you never know what it is used for. So, for me, I want to see a new thinking in the party, new leadership, total overhaul. If we are not careful, we run the risk of losing Governors Makinde of Oyo and Ayade of Cross River to the ruling APC. That will not augur well for us.”
Afegbua also hinted that with the current directionless leadership in the PDP, there are possibilities that the party may lose both the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde and his Cross River counterpart, Ben Ayade among other top chieftains to the APC.
“However they intend to do it, we need action, we need results, not excuses. Does it not bother you that a PDP Governor was attacked with the intent to kill him, and all you heard from Wadata Plaza was just press statement. If it were pre-2015, you would see General Buhari leading the charge in a protest to show that the government lacks capacity to preside over the country. But this PDP executives are too engrossed in sleeping on duty. So, my point is that, we should take a deliberate step to refocus the party, and set it on the path of stronger contestation for power. The time to engage that is now. Get the party retooled, rejigged and repositioned, get some brilliant minds to be more active and continuously put the party in the consciousness of Nigerians. We cannot endure the sufferings which APC has plunged the country. 33% unemployment is a ticking bomb waiting for explosion. This country is on the precipice. The opposition party should be able to rally both local and international communities in its effort to get listening ears.
“Submit petitions to all the embassies in Nigeria, tell Nigerians why the APC should be shown the exit door. This present exco of the PDP cannot deliver on those ideas, they are too withdrawn from the citizenry, too comfortable in their sleeping zone. They need to wake up.”
It would be recalled that, On 10 December 2017 at the Eagles square, Secondus was elected as the PDP National chairman after a keenly contested election.
During the 2019 general elections, the PDP under Secondus won 16 States, with the notable wins coming from states that are generally believed to be APC’s stronghold, they include, Sokoto State, Zamfara State, Bauchi State and lately Edo state in 2020.