Nigeria’s major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, last weekend elected a new set of leaders who will run the affairs of the party for the next four years.
The new party officials are mostly people with experience in local and state politics.
These are their profiles:
Uche Secondus (National Chairman)
Mr. Secondus has been in politics for 39 years He joined politics in 1978 during the Second Republic as the youth leader, in Rivers, for the now-defunct National Party of Nigeria, NPN. He later became the state publicity secretary of another national party, the National Republican Convention, NRC, from 1993 to 1998.
Mr. Secondus became the acting national chairman of the PDP in 2015 after the resignation of the then chairman, Adamu Mu’azu, following the party’s defeat in that year’s presidential election. Before then, he was the party’s deputy national chairman.
As a businessman, he is said to have interest in Intels Nigeria Limited, a company that is linked to Nigeria’s former vice president, Atiku Abubakar. The company has been having running battles of late with the Nigerian government.
The new PDP leader, like most of his fellow party men, have had brushes with the country’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, since Muhammadu Buhari became president. He was detained by the EFCC in 2016 for “illegally” receiving on behalf of the PDP 23 luxury vehicles valued at N310 million from the controversial businessman, Jide Omokore.
The court later declared his arrest as being unlawful and awarded N10 million damages against the EFCC.
During the May 2016 botched Port Harcourt convention, Mr. Secondus wanted to contest for the deputy national chairman of the PDP. But he changed his mind that year and went after the party’s top job.
Yemi Akinwonmi (Deputy National Chairman — South)
Born on January 15, 1955 in Ijebu Ode, Ogun state, Mr. Akinwonmi attended the University of Benin and was appointed Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, under Governor Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State.
Before then, he served as the Ogun State Secretary of the Peoples Party of Nigeria, PPN, before leading 3,250 members of the party to defect to the PDP.
Mr. Akinwonmi was on April 11, 2011 arraigned alongside six others before a magistrate court in Akure Ondo State, over an attempt to violently disrupt the National Assembly elections held on April 9.
The prosecutor, Isah Atangbe, told the court that the accused were arrested by the police at Araromi estate in Ore, Ondo State, around 10 a.m on 9 April, when the National Assembly election had already started.
He said the suspects were arraigned on a five-count charge of being in possession of various dangerous items for the purpose of terrorising members of the public and disturbing public peace, contrary to section 516 of the criminal code, Cap 30 laws of Ondo State.
Babawo Gamawa (Deputy National Chairman– North)
Born on February 2, 1966, he obtained a national diploma from the University of Jos, Plateau State.
Mr. Gamawa served as the Speaker, Bauchi State House of Assembly, and was picked by former Governor Isa Yuguda to serve as deputy governor, following the impeachment of the deputy governor at the time, the late Garba Gadi.
Mr. Gamawa was also elected senator to represent Bauchi North constituency in the Nigerian Senate in 2011.
He was defeated by the candidate of the APC candidate, Suleiman Nazif, in the 2015 elections.
Umar Tsauri (National Secretary)
Ibrahim Umar Tsauri was born in Katsina on April 9, 1952.
He was elected senator to represent Katsina Central from 2003 to 2007. He also served as a director and was number 3 in hierarchy in the presidential campaign office of former President Goodluck Jonathan in the run up to the 2015 election.
Emmanuel Agbo (Deputy National Secretary)
Emmanuel Agbo was a state chairman of the PDP in Benue.
Mr. Agbo was also the chairman of Conference of PDP Chairmen while he held sway as Benue state chairman of the party.
Aribisala Adewale (National Treasurer)
He was elected member, House of Representatives to represent Oye/ Ikole federal constituency of Ekiti State from 2007 to 2011. He was also a PDP governorship aspirant in Ekiti state in the run up to the 2014 election that eventually turned up incumbent Governor Ayo Fayose. Mr. Fayose defeated the then incumbent governor, Kayode Fayemi of the APC.
Abdullahi Maibasira (National Financial Secretary)
Mr. Maibasira, a former National Youth Leader of the PDP was born in Minna Niger state on January 30, 1983.
He attended Kings College, Lagos; Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto; and the Federal University of Technology, Minna, where he graduated in 2011.
Mr. Maibasira also served as the Director of Youth Mobilisation in the campaign office of President Goodluck Jonathan in the run up to the 2015 general elections.
Irona Gerald (Deputy financial Secretary)
Irona Gerald is from Imo state, and is a chemical engineer by training. He was born on August 1, 1966.
Mr. Gerald ventured into politics early in life and was elected for two terms as a councilor, representing Oguta Ward A in 1996 and 1997 respectively.
In 1998, he became the youngest state secretary of All Peoples party, APP, which later became All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP.
In 1999, Mr. Gerald contested and won a seat in the Imo State House of Assembly to represent Oguta State Constituency.
During the period, he was appointed chairman of the House Committee on Petroleum, Environment and Energy, a position he used to conceptualise, initiate and midwife the first ever Memorandum of Understanding between Oil Companies operating in Imo State and their host Communities.
He was also appointed member, presidential committee on verification of oil wells in the Niger Delta.
He was later appointed the Chairman, Transition Committee of Oguta LGA in 2003 and subsequently became the first chairman of the local government area when he was elected unopposed in 2004.
Mr. Gerald later in 2011 contested and won election to represent Oguta/Ohaji Egbema Oru West Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.
Austin Akabondu (National organizing Secretary)
Mr. Akabondu, from Abia State, is a retired army lieutenant colonel. He is a former minister of state for defence under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. Before then, he was appointed the chairman of the board of the University Teaching Hospital, Ibadan, in 2013.
He also served as the national Vice Chairman, South-east of the PDP.
Hassan Yakubu (Deputy National Organising Secretary)
Mr. Yakubu, a lawyer, was the legal adviser of the Nasarawa state chapter of the PDP.
He also once aspired to become the state chairman of the party, in the congress held last year but lost to a former state lawmaker, Francis Orogu.
Kola Ologbondiyan (National Publicity Secretary)
Mr. Ologbondiyan hails from western senatorial district of Kogi State.
Until 2015, he was the special adviser on media and publicity to former Senate President, David Mark.
A graduate of Mass Communication from the University of Lagos, he worked with ThisDay newspaper where he rose through the ranks to become its group political editor, and then deputy editor of the daily title.
He covered beats such as the Presidency, National Assembly, State Government Houses and political parties.
Diran Odeyemi (Deputy National Publicity Secretary)
Mr. Odeyemi was a special assistant to Governor Alao Akala of Oyo State on communications and media matters and he also served in the same capacity for Iyiola Omisore when he contested to be the governor of Osun.
Mr. Odeyemi also served as the spokesperson of the PDP in Osun state.
Emmanuel Enoidem (National Legal Adviser)
Mr. Enoidem served as a commissioner in Akwa Ibom for nine years, traversing the administrations of former Governor Godswill Akpabio and that of current governor, Udom Emmanuel.
He resigned as a member of the state cabinet to run for the office of National Legal Adviser of the PDP.
Feelers from the PDP suggests that he left the cabinet and joined the PDP race on the advice of Mr. Akpabio.
Adamu Mustapha (National Auditor)
Nothing much is known about the new National Auditor of the PDP. Mr. Mustapha is from Yobe State and has been a stalwart of the party in the North-east. He served in the campaign office of President Goodluck Jonathan during the 2015 election.
Mariya Waziri (National Woman Leader)
Mrs. Waziri, from Kebbi state, emerged as the new National Woman Leader of the PDP after a keenly contested battle with another strong candidate, Baraka Sani, from Kano.
Mrs. Waziri was the zonal woman leader of the PDP for the North-west region. She was also a member of the National Conference put in place by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014.
Udeh Okoye (National Youth Leader)
Mr. Udeh Okoye was born on May 28, 1978 in Ohumagu Agbogugu village in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State.
He attended Central School Akegbe-Ugwu for his primary education, Community Secondary School Obuoffia and University of Port Harcourt respectively. He studied Political Science and Administrative Studies.
In 2006, Mr. Okoye became the leader of Enugu State Youth Coalition and in 2009, he became the National President of South-east Youth Movement.
He contested and won election as a member of the Enugu State House of Assembly in 2011. He was made the leader of the assembly from 2011 to 2015, despite being a first timer and the youngest member at the time.
He was re-elected as a state lawmaker in 2015 and until his election as National Youth Leader of the PDP, he was the chairman house committee on works, lands, housing and urban development.
Umar Babangida Maina (Deputy National Youth leader)
Mr. Maina is from Adamawa state and was one of the youngest candidates in the 2015 general elections. He contested for Mubi North, Mubi South Maiha seat of the federal house of representatives. He was also part of the PDP national youth committee for the 2015 presidential election.
Mr. Maina chairs the Namadi Sambo North-east Youth Forum and holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration and Management from American Liberty University, and an MSc in International Relations from the University of Abuja.
He is currently a director on the board of a Micro finance bank in Abuja.