CONVENTION: Wike prevails as PDP settles for Rivers; Atiku, Saraki react
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has ruled out changing Rivers State as the venue for its national convention.
The decision followed a reported groundswell of opposition to the choice of the venue, prompting a well-publicised rant by Wike.
The decision to go ahead with the Port Harcourt venue was reached at the NEC meeting which held at the national headquarters of the party in Abuja on Friday.
The party NEC insisted the convention would go on at the venue, saying the choice was a “unanimous decision.”
Delegates to the convention would elect the party’s presidential candidate for the 2019 general election.
On Monday, the National Working Committee (NWC) and Board of Trustees, (BOT) of the party disagreed over the choice of Port Harcourt for the convention.
While the NWC is in support of Port Harcourt, the BOT said sufficient consultation was not made before the venue was picked.
It therefore called for consideration of alternative venues. Some presidential aspirants also differed over the said venue, reportedly claiming that Wike, believed to be backing Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, would exploit the location towards his selfish ends.
Reacting to calls for change of venue, Wike warned the party of dire consequences should the venue be changed.
“Let me warn the party, if you dare, Rivers State will teach the party a lesson. Those days have passed when they took Rivers State for granted. Nobody can use and dump Rivers state,” Wike had said.
Following the decision to retain Port Harcourt as the venue, former vice president Atiku Abubakar, who is believed to be among those opposed to the venue, denied claims that he was uncomfortable with the choice.
Atiku spoke after the party’s 83rd National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Abuja on Friday.
“It is not true because PH is my second home,” Mr Abubakar, who was vice president between 1999 and 2007, said.
“I don’t need accommodation in PH, I don’t need security so it is not true. I am comfortable.”.
Read also: ‘Democracy is now dead in our beloved country’— Fayose
Also speaking on the choice of Port Harcourt as the convention’s venue, Senate President Bukola Saraki, who is also a presidential aspirant, said he agreed to the decision.
“We all agreed to hold it at PH.
“Some of the issues that we are having before which were reported in papers, we discussed that. Everybody decided that we should stay with the party.
“Where tempers flared, people apologised and everybody felt, yes there was a commitment to assure everybody that there will be free and fair primaries.”
The outgoing governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, also spoke about the NEC meeting.
“We had a successful meeting and all grey issues were resolved.
“Most popular among these grey issues is the venue of our national convention and we have successfully resolved this. We have taken a position that the convention will hold at Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
“Beyond this, there were assurances of free, fair election and that the aspirants will accept the outcome of the result.”
Fayose also said the NEC condemned the process of the Osun State governorship election as “most fraudulent and completely unacceptable.”
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