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Will these ‘new’ faces save the PDP?

1. Prince Uche Secondus Secondus, a south-south politician from Rivers State was deputy national chairman of the PDP during the reign of the former governor…

1. Prince Uche Secondus

Secondus, a south-south politician from Rivers State was deputy national chairman of the PDP during the reign of the former governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, as chairman. He became acting national chairman in May, 2015, when Mu’azu threw in the towel following the party’s defeat at the 2015 general elections.  

Secondus’ reign as acting chairman was characterised by a legal suit instituted by an aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Barr. Ahmed Gulak, who challenged his sit-tight style of leadership. He was later removed from office by a High Court judgement which ruled that his acting role had elapsed.  

Secondus emerged as authentic national chairman of the party at last Saturday’s national convention held at the Eagle Square in Abuja, where he scored 2,000 votes cast by delegates, to beat three other contenders. He was the governors’ anointed even before the convention and was also said to be in the good books of former governors, ministers and other stakeholders. 

Secondus will have to contend with the herculean task of leading the party to the much-touted 2019 general elections especially as the erstwhile ruling party is preparing grounds to reclaim power. He also has the daunting task of reconciling and appeasing  those who contested with him and returning the aggrieved  bigwigs who dumped the PDP for various reasons. He will also face the reality of  general reconciliation, re-positioning, re-building and re-branding of the party’s image before 2019.

Some party leaders say for the PDP to dislodge the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), it must be a united family,  eliminate the long-standing tradition of  imposition and impunity.

Pundits say, choice of presidential, governorship and other candidates must also be done meticulously, hence Secondus’ gigantic task. However, the PDP Chief has already initiated a programme of action for PDP’s take over in 2019 one of which is decentralisation of the party’s  power to states to free the centre. He has the feeling that only serious issues relating to 2019 would be accorded priority at the centre, while the states and zones would be empowered to act on pertinent issues bordering on conflict.

Speaking during his takeover from his predecessor, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Secondus said the PDP was working towards zero-tolerance for corruption during primaries ahead of 2019, adding that party leaders won’t be distracted by the antics of the APC. He noted that the PDP NWC was embarking on a retreat in order to come up with a policy statement in a few days time. “The new exco knows only one thing and that is winning elections; we must win elections in 2019,” he said.

2. Senator Gamawa Babayo Garba

Garba is former deputy governor of Bauchi State and new deputy national chairman (North) of the PDP. He was elected Senator in 2011, for Bauchi North Senatorial District. He also served as Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly. 

As Deputy National Chairman North, Senator Garba has the responsibility of deputising for Secondus, especially on issues relating to the North, and in consultations with other leaders of the party. He also has the enormous assignment of wooing aggrieved party leaders from the North and those who defected to other political parties to return. 

Garba is expected to unite party members from that region and work with other party leaders to ensure that the PDP wins the majority of votes in the North in 2019. 

3. Elder Yemi Akinwonmi

Akinwonmi is the new Deputy National Chairman (South) and former Commissioner for Education in Ogun State. He is one of those expected to unite the Ogun PDP and contribute in his capacity to ensuring the PDP reclaims Ogun State. He is also expected to help pacify the entire South West and especially those who contested various offices but lost out at the convention.  

It’s not only the South West, Elder Akinwonmi is expected to, with other party leaders, put in place, formidable strategies to bring the South East, South West and the South South together in order to win the majority of states in the southern region for the PDP.

4. Senator Umar Tsauri

Senator Umar Ibrahim Tsauri represented Katsina Central in the National Assembly from 2003-2007. He was said to be Makarfi’s anointed candidate before the convention where he was elected as national secretary of the party beating four others in a wide margin. 

Senator Tsauri beat a former Minister of Women Affairs and wife of one of the founding fathers of the PDP, Hajiya Inna Maryam Ciroma and three others who contested the same office with him. He therefore, has the mandate of delegates and the party to render a written annual report of the activities of the party to the National Executive Committee (NEC) and the National Convention.

He will contribute by conducting correspondence of the party, issuing notices of meetings of the National Convention,  NEC, National Caucus and the National Working Committee (NWC). But away from the administrative role, Tsauri would have to bring to bear his political experience to win the hearts of the masses from his home state  and regions he still wields influence. 

5. Kola Ologbondiyan 

He is the newly sworn-in National Publicity Secretary of the party.  He was Special Adviser to former Senate President, David Mark, on Media. Being the Chief Image Maker of the party, the Kogi born journalist who was an editor at ThisDay newspaper, has the unenviable task of restoring the battered image of the party. 

Analysts say Kola would have to fashion out new ways and programmes to ensure that what the PDP achieved during its 16-year reign was promoted and good promises made ahead of 2019. In addition, he is expected to imbibe constructive criticism of the APC-led government, especially policies and programmes of the ruling party that don’t spell well for the lives of Nigerians, thereby providing an alternative. 

It is also within his powers to coordinate all information and public relations of the party including publicising the policies and programmes of the party in line with its manifesto, aims and objectives. 

6. Retired Col. Austin Akobundu 

He is the new National Organising Secretary of the party and former Minister of State for Defence. He is also a former PDP National Vice Chairman (South East), from Abia State. Akobundu’s current office demands that he harmonises all information and devises appropriate strategy for winning elections. He is also expected to coordinate all field activities of the party including selling of expression of interest and nomination forms to aspirants prior to elections.

Similarly, Akobundu has the mandate to initiate programmes for general mobilisation of members and recruitment of new members. He also stands tall in the areas of organising workshops, seminars, rallies and campaign programmes for the attainment of the party’s objectives. 

In addition, he is to work in synergy with the women and youth leaders in order to have a perfect mobilisation for the party ahead of future elections. 

7. Hon. Aribisala Adewale

Adewale is the new PDP  National Treasurer, from Ekiti State and ex-member of the House of Representatives. His official role is to receive and promptly pay into the party’s accounts, all monies for the party and to keep all cheque books and other banking documents. He will also play the key role of preparing and submitting a yearly statement of accounts and periodic reports to the NEC and ensuring prudent management of PDP resources.

However, pundits say Adewale, based on the current political reality can not only play the financial role but also make the real political game of campaigning for the party in his region a top priority. 

8. Barrister Emmanuel Enoidem

Enoidem is National Legal Adviser. He is said to have resigned from his position as Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Commerce, Trade and Investment to contest his present office having received the backing of his governor, Udom Emmanuel.

As PDP Legal Adviser, Enoidem would contribute to the party by providing legal assistance, organizing various legal activities, completing them, creating legal documents and advising the party on all the relevant legal issues. He will play a leading role especially during meetings of legal sorts, and hearings  to ensure that the party gets the best legal result or judgement from the various courts in case of legal tussle. 

He holds the duty to ensure that assigned work is completed effectively and to the satisfaction of the various organs of the party.

9. Hajiya Mariya Waziri

She is National Women Leader, and will be in charge of mobilising and organising women in the party, initiating and implementing strategic programmes and policies aimed at endearing the party to all Nigerian women. She will also coordinate the activities of the zonal and state women leaders for the party’s good, especially, prior to elections.

10. Hon. Udeh Okoye

Okoye is the National Youth Leader, saddled with the responsibility of mobilising the zonal, state youth leaders and others for the party to achieve its aims. He has an important role to play in the build up to 2019 elections. 

11. Malam Adamu Mustapha 

Malam Mustapha is the National Auditor. His role is to audit the party’s accounts annually and report to the NEC, present the audited accounts of the party to the National Convention and carry out other functions to be directed by NEC. He also has the task of mobilising the masses from his base for the PDP ahead of 2019. 

12. Abdullahi Maibasira

Maibasira is new National Financial Secretary. He was National Youth Leader during the reign of Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu as national chairman. His job is to collect and keep the records of all dues, levies, subscriptions and donations paid or made to the party as well as preparing and submitting proposals for raising funds for the party. 

Others are, undertaking strict supervision of budgeting, budgetary control and financial reporting including protecting the party’s assets and coordinating the policies for investment of funds to generate income for the party. 

The deputies

They are: Deputy National Secretary, Dr. Agbo Emmanuel; Deputy National Treasurer, Alhaji Wada Masu; Deputy Financial Secretary, Hon. Irona Alphonsos; Deputy National Organising Secretary, Barrister Hassan Yakubu; Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Diran Odeyemi; Deputy National Legal Adviser, Barrister Ahmed Bello Liman; Deputy National Auditor; Miss Divine Amina Arong; Deputy National Women Leader,  Umoru Adizet Hadizat and Deputy National Youth Leader, Umar Babangida Maina.

The deputies are expected to assist their principals in the discharge of their official duties. They are also expected to play the roles of their principals in acting capacity when the need arises.

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