OBIORA IFOH, Abuja
Events that will shape Saturday’s national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have started to unfold following the disclosure that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar may not be eligible to vote during the convention.
Atiku, who was a ranking member, abandoned the party four years ago when it was obvious that he will not realise his Presidential ambition as former President Goodluck Jonathan was bent on seeking re-election against a previously agreed four year term.In a press conference on Wednesday at the party’s national headquarters, Wadata Plaza, National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye confirmed that Atiku will attend the convention and will even address the delegates but may not participate in the election of the delegates.
Adeyeye, who was accompanied by the Deputy Chairman of the Publicity Sub-committee, Alhaji Salihu Ladan and its a secretary, Hon John Odey said that the party’s constitution is clear on the status of the former Vice President but reaffirmed that the PDP family is glad to have him on board.He said, “All you need to do is pick up the constitution of the Party and see whether Atiku is qualified to vote or not”. When pressed further, he said: “First of all, I can tell you that we are happy with Atiku coming back to the PDP. It’s very exciting for all of us. It’s a good omen to everybody in the PDP. He was one of the founding fathers, one of those who built this party and he’s coming back home. His room was never occupied, so we have opened it for him. He will be part of this convention. He will even make a speech at the convention but he may not be voting at the convention” he stated.
Adeyeye was very hopeful that the event will be a great success, adding that the insinuation that some groups are planning a parallel convention has been laid to rest.”This is the first time we are going to have real contest for offices. This is the first time it is happening and no political party is yet to have an elective convention. The aspirants have traversed all over the country” he said.He raised alarm over plans by some persons close to the Buhari administration to truncate the convention and called on such persons to desist from such acts.
“We have been informed that some overzealous elements in the government are trying everything to prevent the convention from being successful. They are afraid that if PDP should hold a successful convention then their days are numbered.”By next year there will be a flood gate of people from the APC who will want to join the party. The entrance of Atiku Abubakar has already thrown the gate wide open.The suspicion is credible and we are calling in President Buhari to intervene. This obstruction if allowed is capable of ruining this democracy and the country. When the PDP was in office we never made any attempt to obstruct the convention of any party, rather we encourage them” Adeyeye stated.
He further said that on the day of the convention, people who do not have any accreditation will be blocked one kilometer away from the convention ground. “We don’t want the busy bodies to overwhelm those who have accreditation,” he added.He also explained that the party has a security committee manned by experiences people. “We have contacted all the security agencies and they are working hand in hand with the committee. We do not anticipate any problems” he stated.He also reassured that the delegates list will not be tampered with just as he assured that members of the election committee will not compromise the process.
“Some people inadvertently raise issues. People will say all sorts of things. Some former public office holders are presuming that they are statutory delegates but it is wrong.”On the Anambra delegates where there were a lot of agitations, he said that the list is still dicey. “The people that conducted the primaries have submitted their report and the NCC are still studying it.”
On the Osun state delegates list, he affirmed they will not be participating.
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