Politics

PDP holds special convention, NEC meeting

By EdwardAdamidenyo

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) will on Monday, May 2 and Wednesday 4th May 2022 hold a special convention and National Executive Committee meeting in Abuja to decide on critical issues.

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Hon. Debo Ologunagba said the Party has decided to hold its special national convention, where it will pick its presidential candidate.

He confirmed that whoever the National Working Committee picks will be ratified by NEC on Wednesday. “We have decided to hold the convention, where our candidate will emerge, in Abuja.

That was where the National Working Committee chose, but the National Executive Committee will ratify it at our meeting on Wednesday,” he said. It was gathered from top party sources that the party’s leadership rejected lobbyists, who wanted the convention to hold in their preferred states.

According to its timetable, the presidential candidate of the main opposition party will emerge on May 29. In its ‘Schedule of Activities and Timetable for the Year 2022/2023 Elections’ released last month and signed by the National Organis- ing Secretary, Umar Bature, the party said its presidential primary would commence on May 28. It was silent on the venue.

There were 17 presidential candidates in the party, but two of them were dropped after their screening in Abuja on Friday.

The party has yet to reveal the identities of those cleared and disqualified from the race. The aspirants included a former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, and two former Senate Presidents, Bukola Saraki and Pius Anyim. Others were governors Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State.

Also on the list were two former state governors, Peter Obi of Anambra State and Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State. Those who also bought the N40m nomination and expres- sion of interest forms for the race were Dele Momodu, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, Sam Ohuabunwa, Ugwu Okwudili, Chikwendu Kalu, Ndukwe Cosmos, Nwachukwu Amakwenze and Mrs Oliver Tariela Diana. “In 2018, the party held its convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

At that time, the governor of Rivers State was not an aspirant. He merely supported an aspirant. Atiku won then. “Now that Wike is an aspirant, we cannot take the primary to his backyard.

“Also, Udom is interested; we will not go to his area as well. We also cannot go to the North, because of the interest the issue of zoning has generated.

That is a foreclosed issue. “So, there were interested power blocs, who wanted us to take the convention to the areas they consider safe for them, but we had to reject them.” according to one of the NWC member. In 2018, Atiku polled 1,532 votes, while Tambuwal polled 693 to come second.

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Saraki got 317 votes; Jonah Jang, 19; Datti Ahmed, five; David Mark, 35; Tanimu Turaki, 65; Sule Lamido, 96; Attahiru Bafarawa, 48; Ibrahim Dankwambo, 111; Ahmed Makarfi, 74; and Rabiu Kwankwaso, 158. Ologunagba gave an assurance that the party would be fair to all the aspirants, noting that no member of the NWC had prefer- ence for any of them.

He said, “We are going to be fair to all. We have no candidate among the aspirants. They are all distinguished members of our party, who have done well for the party and the country.

“In all the positions they have held, they have done well. We will work together and send the incompetent All Progressives Congress out of power.” We’ll disclose those disqualified soon, says party Meanwhile, the party has promised to disclose the identities of those disqualified after Friday’s screening.

Shortly after the conclusion of the exercise at the Legacy House, Abuja, the presidential campaign headquarters of the PDP, the Chairman of the Screening Committee, Senator David Mark, told journalists that two aspirants were disqualified.

He however declined to reveal the identities of the affected aspirants or the reasons for their disqualification. He simply noted that the aspi- rants did not meet the requirements set by the panel.

When asked about the identities of those not cleared, he merely said, “Now, don’t ask me those who have been cleared and those who have not been cleared, because I won’t tell you. We haven’t released the result to them. So, if you ask a question in that direction, you are wasting time.”

Asked what the committee found wrong with the disqualified aspirants, Mark said, “They didn’t meet the requirements and I can’t be more specific about that.” But Ologunagba said, “Yes, we did not reveal their identities, but that will be done and you will know soon.

Don’t forget that the appeal committee is still going to meet on the issue.” The committee is expected to sit on Monday. NEC to decide zoning on Wednesday On the issue of zoning, Ologunagba said the NEC would also review the report of the committee set up on the issue.

“The NEC meeting will look at it and take a final decision,” he said.

The issue of zoning had polarised the party and its aspirants as some were of the opinion that it would be wrong for another northerner to succeed the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), whose second term ends on May 29, 2023.

Majority of those in favour of zoning were from the southern part of the country, while their northern counterparts were of the opinion that the PDP had produced more southern presidents than the North.

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