The 2023 election permutations may consume the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) including the National Chairman, Uche Secondus.
Some governors, ex-governors and influential leaders have started the search for a successor to National Chairman Uche Secondus.
It was learnt that some PDP governors and leaders, who are under pressure from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to defect, are bidding time over the expected leadership change before making up their minds on what steps to take.
But Secondus has told the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party tbat his team improved the electoral fortunes of the PDP in the last three years, especially in the 2019 elections.
Apart from serving as an acting National Chairman between 2015 and 2016, Secondus assumed office on December 10, 2017.
His four-year tenure ends in December next year.
The “stress” in the party, which is fueled by 2023 aspirations, might lead to a change earlier than the exit date of the NWC.
It was learnt that those pushing for a change in PDP leadership felt the party has been weakened by the 2019 elections – the second in a row, that they were losing.
They also alleged that few governors and party leaders are dictating the pace in the party.
The same influential governors were alleged to have held PDP by the jugular such that Secondus and others are trying to create a level-playing structure in vain.
They also claimed that the party ought to start its reforms early, as the APC is doing.
They were allegedly worried that APC has been trying to make inroads into their party with more PDP leaders negotiating clandestinely with the ruling party.
A leader, who spoke in confidence, said: “It is true that APC is reaching out to more PDP leaders to defect. The return of ex-House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara to the APC has emboldened the ruling party.
“ I think they are trying to woo ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and a former President of the Senate. Some PDP leaders, who are discussing with the APC, are also waiting for the choice of the new chairman of the ruling party before their defection.
“The ex-Senate President may dump the PDP if ex-Governor Abdulaziz Yari energes the new APC national chairman.
The source added:” The PDP is muzzled at present by a few governors and leaders. Most PDP members are not happy by the state of things. These governors behave as if they own the party.
“The reality is that some governors and PDP leaders are secretly shopping for a successor to Secondus.
“They are saying if there is no leadership change, the APC may reduce the PDP to a carcass in the next one year.
A member of the PDP NEC said: “Secondus is not a sitting lame duck, he is as well forward-looking. He raised a committee headed by Governor Bala Mohammed to review the 2019 polls and what the party should do differently to win the presidency in 2023.
“Some grouses about some of our leaders are also that we have not been able to resolve crises in some states and strengthen the party in the Southwest, Northwest and in the Northeast.
“They are angry that Secondus leadership has not designed a counter-strategy to check APC incursions into PDP. It is obvious that APC, which is trying to recover from internal rumpus, is desperate to split PDP. “
Notwistanding, Secondus told NEC members last Thursday that his team had done well in three years.
He said: “When the current National Working Committee (NWC), under my watch came into office nearly three years ago, we based our programmes on 3Rs, to reposition, rebuild and to regain.
“I can confidently report to NEC that the programme is on course. We were able to reform the party ahead of the 2019 general election enough to take us to victory if the APC regime had allowed the will of the people to prevail.”
“The number of PDP governors increased from 11 to 16 and would have been more if not for APC’s electoral abracadabra in Osun, Kano, Kogi states and climaxed in Imo state with the shocking Supreme Court ruling.
At the National Assembly, as an opposition, we were able to attract into our fold the Senate President and 16 senators, the Speaker and more than 34 House of Representatives members ahead of the 2019 elections in addition to three sitting governors, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state, Dr Sam Ortom of Benue and Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara state.
“All these were as a result of our repositioning of the party that made it a huge brand. We restored integrity to our primaries.
“On the off season elections, we won the governorship in Bayelsa and Edo. The party also prevailed in several by-elections in Sokoto, Cross River, Taraba and Rivers states.”
Secondus also confirmed that the party was reviewing the 2019 polls to become stronger in preparation for the 2023 poll.
He added:” In our last NEC meeting in February, some far-reaching decisions were taken, including the rationalisation of the party workforce to bring it to a realistic level as an opposition party. I wish to report that this was successfully carried out by the committee headed by Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state who did a good job and deserves commendation.
“In our last NEC meeting also, a special committee to review and appraise the 2019 general election was set up. The committee which is also headed by Governor Mohammed is already operational despite the delay caused by the COVID-19 lockdown.
“It is also necessary to bring to the attention of NEC that despite the disruptions from the COVID-19 lockdown, we have been able to conduct congresses in most of the outstanding states and frantic efforts are also on ground to resolve some disputes arising from them in few states.”