Prince Uche Secondus, who emerged as the new national Chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from a now controversial convention held yesterday in Abuja, is not a newcomer to the corridors of party leadership.
The businessman turned politician has spent many years playing party politics right from his days as the Youth Leader of the Rivers State chapter of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN), during the Second Republic.
Born and raised in Andoni, Rivers State, young Secondus attended elementary and secondary schools in Rivers State before leaving the shores of the country for the United Kingdom where he attended the London Chambers of Commerce
Institute and obtained a certificate in Commerce. On his return to the country, he delved into business and soon made a name in the politics of his home state.
He continued in politics even after the collapse of the Second Republic in 1983, joining several other politicians to form various political organizations while waiting for the then military government to lift the lid off politics. And when the Third Republic berthed, he promptly joined the National Republican Convention (NRC) and soon emerged as its Publicity Secretary in Rivers State.
His political profile rose tremendously during the Third Republic as he was seen as one of the driving forces of the NRC in the state. As the mouthpiece of the ruling party in the state, he left no one in doubt of his ability to not only defend the NRC and the then Governor of the state, Rufus Ada-George. It was during this era that Secondus confirmed his place as an astute player of party politics.
Little surprise that when democracy returned to the country in 1998, he returned with it as the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state. He went on to serve as a two-term chairman of the PDP before leaving the stage to move on to higher party assignments at the national level. But that was not until he earned the nickname “Total Chairman”.
Explaining how Secondus came about the moniker, a chieftain of the party in Rivers recalled how the Andoni-born politician was firmly in control of the party while he held sway as the helmsman in the state. “He was totally in charge. He gave no room for dissidents to rock the boat of his leadership. He was always ahead of those who plotted to disrupt his reign. He was on ground in all the real sense of it,” our source said.
On how Secondus was able to achieve the feat that made him the “Total Chairman”, our source added that as a party leader, Secondus, though he will not tolerate dissidents, was a team player. “He does not give room for dissidents to operate but if you are ready to work with him, he is a team player. With Secondus in charge, the party secretariat was always a beehive of activities. He always had something for all his team members to do. He never worked alone,” he added.
From being the “Total Chairman” of the ruling party in Rivers, Secondus, who at the time was heading a nationally renowned group within the PDP known as the G84, moved to the national stage when he emerged as the South-South Coordinator for the PDP National Campaign Council that organized the campaigns for the party during that year’s general elections in 2007.
As campaign co-ordinator, he left no one in doubt of his organizational ability. Thus, in 2008, at the Peoples Democratic Party Convention, he was elected into the position of National Organizing Secretary of the PDP. He was in that office until 2012. In 2013, he emerged as the Deputy National Chairman of the ruling PDP at the national convention of the party.
With fate still favouring the “Total Chairman”, he was soon thrust forward to take the position of acting National Chairman of the PDP in 2015 following the unexpected defeat of the party at the last presidential election and the resultant resignation of the then party chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu. Returning as the “Total Chairman” at a time the party was enmeshed in unending crisis, Secondus was saddled with the task of uniting the troubled PDP and repositioning it to move forward.
But he was neither to stay long on the seat nor be elected as substantive as the usual leadership tussle for which his party had become known, soon swept him away from the position. While away from the national secretariat of the party, Secondus did not in any way lost relevance in politicking. He became one of the closest allies of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, his political associate of many years.
Perhaps it was that alliance that paid off as Wike, acting in tandem with other PDP governors, yesterday ensured the return of the Andoni Prince to the national secretariat of the PDP, this time as substantive national Chairman, elected at the national convention of the troubled opposition party, held at the Eagle Square, Abuja. Though he emerged amidst controversies and strong fear that the PDP may be returning to its troubled days, the “Total Chairman”, as he is still fondly called, says he is coming to give PDP total peace.
That is, however, left to be seen.