The National Executive Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party has decided to hold its National Convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The decision was taken at the NEC meeting which was held at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja on Friday.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, told journalists after the meeting that all the presidential aspirants had agreed to be at Port Harcourt for the convention.
This comes a few days after the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, threatened to deal with the party if the convention is moved from Port Harcourt.
The governor had issued the threat on Wednesday, during a consultative visit by Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo who is a presidential aspirant in the part to the Government House in Port Harcourt.
“Let me warn the party, if they 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,” the governor had said.
“No Presidential Aspirant can use and dump Rivers State. We never lobbied for it, we never asked for it, but it will boost the economy of the state. People will make money.
“Those who are against Rivers people making money to improve their businesses, will not get our support.”
The outgoing National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr John Odigie-Oyegun has praised the strength of the party and hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for his performance in office.
“I see one strong party. I see a party of passionate followers who are ready to follow our President because of the principled leadership,” Odigie-Oyegun said during his speech at the APC National Convention in Eagles Square, Abuja on Saturday.
Oyegun, who emerged National Chairman of the party in 2014, also thanked members of the party for giving him the opportunity to serve.
He, however, decried the negative stories, “abuses” and “fake stories” that the Buhari administration has had to contend with.
Despite the obstacles, the APC Chairman believes the President has remained focus and that the party has always stood by the Federal Government.
“ln spite of the crude abuses, insinuations, fake stories that have been hurled in his directions, he has not allowed them to dissuade him in any way or distract him from his course,” Odigie-Oyegun said.
Apart from the President, he also appreciated members of the party for choosing and allowing him to lead them for four years.
“I thank my colleagues of the National Working Committee (NWC), the Chairmen of the various state chapters some of which have returned to the saddle to provide experience for continuity,” Odigie-Oyegun added.
He is optimistic that despite the divergent views in some quarters, party members have always pursued the interest of the party and that of the President.
Some delegates at the ongoing All Progressives National Convention have engaged each other in a free for all.
Trouble first started among delegates from Imo State before spreading to the Delta State delegates.
While the clash between delegates from Imo was brought under control by security operatives after a while, that between the Delta delegates was more intense with chairs being hurled and several people sustaining injuries.
It was gathered trouble began when a group loyal to Imo State Governor Rochas arrived at the stand reserved for Imo delegates and ordered others loyal to his deputy, Eze Madumere, to vacate the seats.
The order was resisted leading to fisticuffs with the private security of the governor allegedly getting involved with some people forcefully removed.
Just as security officials were trying to bring the situation under control the delegates from Delta State got engaged in an even more violent brawl.
The brawl was allegedly between supporters of O’Tega Emerhor and a former governorship candidate in the state, Great Ogboru.
According to delegates from the group, the faction loyal to O’Tega Emerhor had stepped out to eat but was stunned when they returned and found out that they had been unseated by another faction.
Their attempt to take their seats back ended in violence.
This occurred despite the heavy security presence at the venue of the convention which has President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and the who is who of the party.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is holding a National Convention organised with funds stolen from public coffers.
The PDP in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, also claimed that the APC has become a laughing stock among Nigerians following the inability to resist the imposition of an individual overburdened by corruption allegations as its new leader.
“It is sickening to note that the entire APC Convention is a celebration of corruption organised to crown dishonest and fraudulent individuals, who ordinarily should be guests at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) offices across the nation.
“With this, the APC has finally capped itself a party where alleged treasury looters are robed as kings and where all decency have been thrown overboard for official hooliganism,” Ologbondiyan said.
The PDP also challenged the APC to deny its allegations that the funds used in organising the convention were siphoned from some federal agencies.
“Our investigation had since revealed that governors of APC-controlled states were coerced to divert huge sums from federal bailout funds meant for the well being of the people as well as monies budgeted for development projects in various communities, to fund a failed convention,” PDP alleged.
The APC National convention is holding today, Saturday, June 23, at the Eagles Square in Abuja with 65 positions to be filled. 23 of the positions are however unopposed, thereby leaving the contest for 42 aspirants.
The Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Foreign Relations and the Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has denied the existence of a unity list for the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s national convention.
She stated this during an appearance on Politics Today, a political programme aired on Channels Television.
“There is no unity list. If you see any list on that day or before that day it is a fake list,” she said on Monday night.
Dabiri-Erewa’s comments come four days to the National Convention scheduled to hold in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
She believes that the ruling party is working assiduously to ensure that the convention holds successfully, despite some differences among some of its members.
Of the 65 positions to be filled, the Presidential aide explained that 23 are unopposed thereby leaving the contest for 42 aspirants.
“There are 65 positions out there. I think about 23 are unopposed, so 42 persons will be contesting. We have about 7,000 delegates and we are all set for the convention,” she said.
“We are working very hard to ensure a very successful convention and that is to ensure fairness, firmness, discipline and true democracy.”
Reacting to the APC’s internal disputes, Dabiri-Erewa explained that the party would resolve the issues among aggrieved member in time.
According to her, APC is still a party to beat as the reconciliatory moves are still ongoing, led by the national leader of the party and former Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu.
She said, “Whatever issues arising will be dealt with in a fair and appropriate manner. Talks are going on and reconciliation is also ongoing, as Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is doing his reconciliation quietly, diligently and results are being achieved.
The President explained that after due consultation, it became imperative to overturn the resolution to extend the NWC’s tenure as it contravened Article 17 Sub-section 1 of the Party constitution which recommends a 4-year tenure for all elected officials.
Although shocking for many, the President’s U-Turn on the tenure elongation was welcomed by top members of the party, including Senator Shehu Sani.
The newly elected Legal adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Agbo Emmanuel, has defended the distribution of lists that took place during the party’s national convention on Saturday, December 9.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Monday, he stated that the distribution of a said ‘Unity List’ was a normal phenomenon and in fact, other lists were being distributed.
“In any election, there is always a lineup – it is not a Nigerian phenomenon, it is a global thing.
“Whenever you have an electoral college, there is always a line up by the contestants so in the last convention, there were a lot of lists generated by the different blocs that contested that election so, that is not an issue.”
Speaking further, Mr Emmanuel said the party’s leaders are making efforts to reconcile aggrieved members and ensure their return to the party.
“The chairman has given a command that we should go back, rebuild the party from the nooks and the crannies of this country, get every member of the party that was out, to be in, fully – Ensure that there is harmony in every unit of the party.
“Many of those that were aggrieved are already back in the party as we speak. Our leaders are already talking to few of those members.
“We are only having Professor Adeniran to deal with and as I said leaders of the party are making advances to him and I’m sure that as a committed member of the party since 1998, Professor Adeniran will see reason to come and work with the party to ensure that we regain power in 2019 which is what he himself wanted to do.”
Addressing the issue of zoning, Mr Emmanuel stated that members of the south-west region are well represented in the party and that there is no such thing as zoning to the south-east.
According to him, all those who had stepped down earlier only did so in the interest of the party.
“The south-west region of the country was sufficiently carried along in the last convention.
“Four eminent sons of the south-west are members of the national working committee so nobody can accuse the PDP of not having sufficient representatives from the south-west.”
On the agenda of the party, the legal adviser said under the leadership of the new chairman, the party is repositioning itself and is determined to regain power in the 2019 elections.
“The national working committee that is being led by a veteran politician in the person of Prince Uche Secondus is very poised and determined and ready to take back power in 2019. For that reason, he has positioned the party to get down to business immediately.
“As we speak, we had an inaugural meeting today where all departments at the national secretariat of the party took over from their predecessors – so we are ready.
“The agenda of the newly elected national working committee of the party is to reposition the party to regain power in 2019 – that is our singular agenda and we shall not miss it,” he stressed.
A former acting Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Uche Secondus, has emerged as the party’s National Chairman, ending its long and troubled quest to elect leaders after it suffered defeat in the 2015 Presidential election.
Mr Secondus defeated a former Minister of Education, Professor Tunde Adeniran, Founder of Daar Communications, Raymond Dokpesi, as well as a Former Minister of Sports and Special Duties, Taoheed Adedoja, in a controversial election at its national convention which commenced on Saturday at the Eagles Square in Abuja.
Founder of Daar Communications, Raymond Dokpesi, has expressed disappointment over the emergence of a list called the ‘Unity List’ in the National Chairmanship Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The list, a copy of which was obtained by Channels Television on Saturday, contained the names of purported ‘unity candidates’ identified for delegates to vote, a development which Dokpesi and another contestant, Professor Tunde Adeniran said amounted to rigging.
Speaking to reporters at the Eagles Square in Abuja on Saturday, Mr Dokpesi also alleged that the names on the list were those who won various seats in the party’s leadership structure.
“Our attention has just been drawn to an impunity and illegality that has been going on since we started voting about three hours ago.
“Apparently, every delegate that is available a copy of what you can find here, they call it the Unity List (raises copy of ‘Unity List’), which bear the same thing and all the names that are here are number 1 on all the cubicles for voting and this is supposed to be the list prepared by the governors.
“Our agents have been very disturbed. Everybody has come out to vote, has this list.”
He, however, noted that although he was not angered by the situation, he just wanted the press as well as observers to see that the process was not free and fair as claimed.
According to him, he had reported the case to the Chairman of the electoral committee, Mr Gabriel Suswam, as well as the chairman of the planning committee Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, but both seemed equally overwhelmed by the situation.
“I have personally approached governor Suswan who is involved in the management of this electoral process and he told me that he was taking necessary steps and that he personally even collected this Unity List from a governor.
“I approached governor Okowa who is chairman of the planning committee – he too is helpless so the names you have here is not unlikely to be what you will find announced later today.
“But unfortunately I am not pained, I am not angered, but the younger ones that are involved have come up with cries to me and I must take an appropriate step.
“Distinguished ladies and men of the press, the purpose of just drawing your attention and showing you this – collected from various delegates is to show very clearly that the process that is going on is very seriously marred,” Dokpesi stressed.
“We will go through the National Convention and the party will become solid. You know we have a Caretaker Committee. When you have a Caretaker Committee, you are not as strong as a fully elected chairman,” the former President said this in Rivers State, Port Harcourt during a visit Governor Nyesom Wike.
He said although the PDP has been confronted with various challenges, that phased is gone and there is much hope in the success of the upcoming national convention set to hold on December 9.
“The party passed through some challenges. Luckily for us, we have passed through that phase with the pronouncement of the Supreme Court. We want to formally elect the officials of the party that will lead the party to the 2019 elections. I am very hopeful that on the 9th of December we will elect our leaders,” Jonathan added.
Commenting on the performance of Governor Wike, the Former President described him as one of Nigeria’s best in terms of projects delivery and policies.
“He is one of the best governors in terms of commitment, in terms of putting structures on the ground, in terms of coming up with creative policies. He met certain structures, he has improved on them and he has built new roads and infrastructure,” Jonathan said.