The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has agreed to hold the party’s National Convention to elect its presidential candidate in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.
On Wednesday, the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, threatened to teach the party a lesson if it succumbs to pressures from some presidential aspirants to move the party’s national convention away from the state.
Rising from the emergency National Executive Council, NEC meeting of the party on Friday in Abuja, the chairman of the PDP Governors Forum and governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, said the convention is scheduled for October 6 and 7 in Port Harcourt.
Mr Fayose said the NEC had a successful meeting where all grey issues were resolved.
“Most popular among these grey issues is the venue of the our national convention, and we have successfully resolved this.
“We have taken a position that the convention will hold in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
“Beyond this, there were assurances of free, fair election, and that the aspirants will accept the outcome of the result,” he said.
Mr Fayose said that the party’s leadership condemned activities of the security agencies during the governorship elections in Osun and Ekiti states.
According to him, PDP members were prevented from exercising their rights, while there was violence during the elections.
“We have seen clearly that the elections were not credible, not fair. Party will take appropriate steps to make sure this trend does not continue,” he said.
On the number of PDP presidential aspirants, Mr Fayose said it was not disturbing, saying it showed that the party was vibrant and a lot of people were interested in it.
Also speaking with journalists, the Senate President and Presidential aspirant, Bukola Saraki, said the decision to hold the convention in Port Harcourt was taken at the meeting.
He said issues of concern, including those reported in the media, were addressed.
“Some of the issues that we were having before, which were reported in papers, we discussed that. Everybody decided that we should stay with the party.
“Where tempers were flared, people apologised and everybody felt, yes, there was a commitment to assure everybody that there would be free and fair primaries. So today’s been a very good day,” he said.
Former Vice President and also a PDP presidential aspirant, Atiku Abubakar, said he had never been against holding the convention in Port Harcout as alleged in some online reports.
“It is not true, because Port Harcourt is my second home. I don’t need accommodation in Port-Harcourt and I don’t need security.
“So, it is not true. I am comfortable,” Mr Atiku said.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, also said that all presidential aspirants participating in the primaries would sign an undertaking to accept the result, which the party promised to be free, fair and credible.
Mr Ologbondiyan said the party’s leadership also condemned the just-concluded governorship election in Osun state, describing it as “a charade and a mockery of democracy”.
“The NEC condemned the process of the Osun State governorship election as most fraudulent and completely unacceptable,” he said.
Mr Ologbondiyan said that the party also condemned the role played by the security agencies and insisted on their neutrality in subsequent elections.
“Furthermore, NEC expresses the readiness of the PDP to engage democratic stakeholders all over the world toward achieving a credible free and fair general election in February 2019.
“NEC assures Nigerians that the PDP remains steady on the political space and urges them to remain committed to the ideals of our party, especially as we march to victory in 2019,” he said.
Also at the meeting were the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, and Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom.
Presidential aspirants — Ahmed Datti, Jonah Jang and Kabiru Turaki; Board of Trustees’ chairman, Jibrin Walid; Tom Ikimi and Okwesilieze Nwodo were also present at the meeting.