… As Sambo screens Atiku, Saraki other presidential aspirants
Obiora Ifoh, Abuja
The leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have disagreed on the choice of Portharcourt, capital of Rivers State as the venue for the October 6, National Convention.
PDP’s Deputy National Chairman, South, Elder Yemi Akinwonmi who represented the National Chairman Uche Secondus at the inauguration of the convention planning committee at the party headquarters in Abuja on Monday said that the choice of Portharcourt as the venue for the convention has been accepted by the stakeholders.
He said, “On the issue of venue, the party set up a committee headed by Ambassador Ibrahim Kazaure, and they went round the South South Zone and South East Zone before coming out with the choice of Port Harcourt for us.
“As in acceptance, the National Working Committee (NWC) has consulted widely with the PDP Governors forum, we have consulted widely with the BOT, we have consulted widely with caucus of the party 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 of Nigeria.”
But in a swift rebuttal, the Board of Trustees chairman, Senator Waleed Jubrin said, “Even though the Deputy 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 suggestions on the issue of venue.
“We have looked at all suggestions and i assure you that the issue of venue will be resolved. But for now we are working around 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.”
The BoT chairman BOT however endorsed the choice of Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as the chairman of the convention planning committee.”Let me congratulate you all for making the National Committee list, it is a very big task but we all accepted because due to the excellent record recorded in the last convention that is why we all agreed that Chairman of this convention should be the Governor of Delta State and others.”
Ebonyi State Governor, Engr. David Umahi while commending the committee however advised that the working committee and the BOT need to settle the disagreement.
In his acceptance speech, Senator Okowa appreciated the party to be appointed as members of the Special National Convention Planning Committee, “and we do know as a party that we are in very critical moments in the history of our nation and the history of out great party, PDP. We do understand that the assignment that you have given us is about the most important assignment in the history of this party at least for this year.
“We are very much aware that if we get this convention right and when the processes are such that they are credible, free and fair, we will definitely have the buy in of all our presidential aspirants. And we will now have a united family.
“I also want to believe that if there are any internal issues, it will be resolved within today. I am very confident of that. Because all of us believe that the only way forward is for the entirety of the party to stay united and focused. And as such, as members of the PDP, we cannot afford to disagree on any issues. The thing that is needed is for a free and fair primary to be conducted for all our aspirants. And we are very definite that we will get it right. No matter where we take it to, we will do what is right. And I believe that at the end of the day, nobody will have any cause to complain.”
Meanwhile, the former Vice President, Namadi Sambo, was named chairman of the 10-member committee to screen the 13 presidential aspirants commenced the assignment on Monday.
Other members of the committee are the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; a former President of the Senate, Iyorcha Ayu and Chief Tom Ikimi. Also in the list are Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo, Hajia Ina Ciroma, Mrs Kema Chikwe, Dr. Haliru Bello, Chief Ebenezer Babatope and the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel.
Presidential aspirants who faced the committee on include Senate President Bukola Saraki, Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, Former Plateau State Governor, Senator Jona Jang, Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal and former Sokoto State Governor Atahiru Bafarawa.
Others include former senate president David Mark, former lawmaker Ahmed Datti, Gombe state Governor, Ibrahim Dankwanbo, former Jigawa state governor Sule Lamido, former Chairman of the PDP Caretaker Committee Senator Ahmed Makarafi, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and Kabir Tanimu Turaki, SAN and Stanley Osifoh.
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