UPDATED: Despite opposition, PDP insists on holding convention in Rivers State

Uche-Secondus
Uche Secondus, PDP National Chairman

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has resolved to hold the party’s national convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The decision was taken at the 83rd NEC meeting of the party which held at the Wadata Plaza secretariat of the PDP in Abuja on Friday.

Delegates to the convention are expected to elect the party’s presidential candidate for the 2019 general election.

Some aspirants had complained about the choice of Port Harcourt as the venue because it had the potential of being hijacked by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who is believed to wield tremendous influence in the former ruling party.

Mr Wike is also a close ally of Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, who is one of the presidential aspirants. He is believed by many to be subtly supporting the former Speaker in his aspirations to clinch the party’s ticket.

Briefing reporters at the end of the meeting, spokesperson of the PDP, Kola Ologbodiyan said, the choice of Port Harcourt was a “unanimous decision” at the NEC.

He also said the meeting assured all aspirants of a free and fair election during the convention.

Mr Ologbondiyan also said the NEC resolved that all aspirants would sign an agreement with the party officials to accept the outcome of the convention.

The outgoing Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, also gave an insight into what transpired at the meeting.

“We had a successful meeting and all grey issues were resolved. Most popular among these grey issues is the venue of our national convention and we have successfully resolved this. We have taken a position that the convention will hold at Port Harcourt, Rivers State.”

He said the party also condemned the outcome of the Osun State governorship rerun and will not accept the results.
INEC earlier declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gboyega Oyetola, the winner of the Osun governorship election.

Mr Oyetola was returned as governor-elect on Thursday at the end of a supplementary election which held in seven polling units across four local governments.

The APC candidate won six of the seven units amidst allegations of harassment and other forms of malpractice.

At the end of the tally of votes, the APC candidate scored 255,505 votes while the PDP candidate got 255,023 votes.

“Beyond this, there were assurances of free, fair election and that the aspirants will accept the outcome of the result. The NEC condemned the process of the Osun State governorship election as most fraudulent and completely unacceptable,” Mr Fayose said.

Presidential aspirant and former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, also cleared the air on the rumours that he was not comfortable with the selection of Port Harcourt as the venue of the party’s congress.

“It is not true, because Port Harcourt is my second home. I don’t need accommodation in Port Harcourt. I don’t need security so it is not true. I am comfortable.”

Equally, Senate President Bukola Saraki, who is also an aspirant said the choice was acceptable to him.

“We all agreed to hold it at PH. Some of the issues that we are having before which were reported in papers, we discussed that. Everybody decided that we should stay with the party. “Where tempers flared, people apologised and everybody felt, yes there was a commitment to assure everybody that there will be free and fair primaries,” Mr Saraki said.

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Lois Ugbede is a junior politics reporter at PREMIUM TIMES. She currently covers some of the nation’s big political parties and the Independent National Electoral Commission. Twitter: @ugbedelois


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