Ologbondiyan said about 3619 delegates will be voting to elect the PDP presidential candidate for the 2019 polls.
Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The controversy surrounding the venue of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national convention has been laid to rest, as the party has resolved to hold the event in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
The PDP convention, where the party’s presidential candidate for 2019 general election will emerge, is scheduled for October 6-7.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, told journalists in Abuja that that was part of decisions taken at the emergency meeting of the opposition party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) held at the party’s National Secretariat, yesterday.
The NEC meeting which lasted for about four hours was attended by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; former Vice President Abubakar Atiku; Sokoto governor, Aminu Tambuwal; former PDP national chairman, Ahmed Makarfi; former Minister of Special Duties, Tanimu Turaki and Senator Datti Baba-Ahmed.
Also present at the meeting were the chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Ayodele Fayose; Udom Emmanuel, Ifeanyi Okowa and Wike, governors of Akwa Ibom, Delta and Rivers respectively.
Inside sources said the decision to hold the convention in Port Harcourt was unanimously taken after the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, reportedly apologised to the PDP, over his threat that there would be consequences, if the convention was moved out of his state.
PDP leaders have been at loggerheads over the decision to hold the convention in Port Harcourt, with Board of Trustees (BoT) and some of the presidential aspirants opposing plan to hold the party’s nomination in the Rivers State capital. The disagreement over the venue came to the open on Monday after the BoT chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin publicly disagreed with the PDP Deputy National Chairman (South), Elder Yemi Akinwunmi over the matter. Controversy over the venue for the convention assumed a new dimension on Wednesday, after Wike, threatened that there would be consequences for the PDP, if the opposition party, moves the national convention out of Port Harcourt.
Ologbondiyan, who spoke at a press briefing after the NEC meeting, said about 3619 delegates will be voting to elect the PDP presidential candidate for the 2019 polls. There are currently 13 aspirants jostling to be the opposition party’s candidate in next year’s presidential poll.
According to him, “A unanimous decision by all the members of NEC present was taken that our national convention will hold in Port Harcourt , River state. The convention will take place between 6th and 7th.
“NEC further resolved that we will be committing all our presidential aspirants to a bond on the outcome of the election. What this translates into is that all our aspirants will sign agreement with our party in other to ensure that the outcome if the national convention which the party has promised to be transparent, free, fair and acceptable to Nigerians must be accepted by all our aspirants.
“The aspirants have been assured of a transparent process of the national convention. The aspirants collectively assured the party also that their fears over the Port Harcourt convention have been allayed by the party. They also resolved that they have confidence in the leadership of the party and the leadership of the convention committee”.
On the Rivers State governor’s stance over the venue of the convention, the PDP spokesman noted that “I can assure that the PDP has a methodology of resolving its crisis using the internal crisis mechanism, that’s what we adopted in the case of the decision to use the facility in Rivers state to conduct our convention.”
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Saraki, who was flanked by Atiku, Wike, Fayose and other party leaders said all the issues relating to the convention were addressed at the NEC meeting.
“We all agreed to hold the convention in Port Harcourt. Some of the issues that we were having before which were reported in the papers were discussed. Everybody decided that we should stay with the party. Where tempers were flared, people apologized and everybody felt yes there was a commitment to assure everybody that there will be free and fair primaries,” he stated.