Convention Venue Causes Confusion In PDP

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The venue of the October 5 National Convention to choose the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is currently tearing the party apart.

The issue came to the fore following a Monday meeting on the venue between the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) and the Board of Trustees (BoT) which ended in a deadlock.

Although the NWC is saying that the party stakeholders had backed Port Harcourt in Rivers State as venue of the convention, the BoT has rejected the city, saying consultations on venue were still ongoing.

The Deputy National Chairman of the party, Elder Yemi Akinwonmi, had stirred the hornet’s nest when he said at the meeting, “On the issue of venue, the party set up a committee headed by Ambassador Ibrahim Kazaure and they went round the Southsouth and the Southeast zones before coming out with the choice of Port Harcourt.

“As in acceptance, the NWC had consulted widely with the PDP Governors Forum. We have consulted widely with the BOT. We have consulted widely with the various caucuses of the party.

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“And today it has been jointly accepted that we will converge in Port Harcourt, in no distance time for the national convention.

“The international community has told us that they want to watch keenly the Port Harcourt convention.

“Particularly, they said they want to come and watch the process that will lead to the emergence of our flag bearer, because by the grace of God, our flag bearer will be the next president.”

However, the BoT Chairman, Sen. Walid Jibrin, sharply opposed the statement that it had backed the choice of Port Harcourt.

Jibrin said, “Even though the Deputy National Chairman said the issue of venue has been concluded, I want to say that the issue of venue is still on and is not concluded.

“Because there are many suggetions on the issue of venue. We look at all suggestions and let me assure you that the issue of venue will be resolved.

“But, for now, we are working round the clock to ensure that we have a very suitable venue accepted by everybody. I want to say that everyone of us should come together and ensure that we have a venue suitable to all of us”.

Enugu, Uyo and Kano were also said to have been considered at the meeting but Enugu and Uyo were dropped after the governors of Enugu and Akwa Ibom declined to host the convention for unknown reasons.
Also, Kano was struck off the list as many of the presidential aspirants opposed it as the stronghold of one aspirant, Sen. Rab’iu Musa Kwankwaso.

While Abuja was also said to have been considered for the meeting, it was reportedly struck off the list for “strategic reasons”.

The final decision was expected to be made in a Monday night meeting between the 12 presidential aspirants, the BoT and the chairman of the PDP national convention committee, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.

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