Less than a week after leaders and stakeholders of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, agreed to hold the party’s national convention in Port Harcourt, the
Less than a week after leaders and stakeholders of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, agreed to hold the party’s national convention in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, findings have emerged on how the controversy over the choice of venue was finally resolved.
PDP chairman, Uche Secondus and APC chairman Adams Oshiomhole
Following a week of uncertainty over a venue which led to a sharp disagreement between the National Working Committee, NWC, and the Board of Trustees, BoT, on the one hand and Governor Nyesom Wike and some presidential aspirants on the other, the party resolved the issue at its 82nd emergency National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting last week.
A party official, yesterday, told Vanguard in confidence that fears over possible manipulation of the process was laid to rest when Governor Wike expressed his commitment to credible primaries and readiness to work with whoever emerged the party’s candidate.
He also added that the governor’s “sincere apology” pacified aggrieved party men who were working behind the scenes to ensure the convention did not hold in the Rivers State capital.
He said: “What happened last week showed that the PDP is, indeed, a family of people with shared affinities. There were some online reports that the governor (Wike) was pushing for Port Harcourt because he has his preferred candidate.
‘’But at the NEC meeting, he made it clear that his only interest is a transparent, free and fair election.
“The promise too by the leadership of the party as well as the Convention Planning Committee not to tamper with the process convinced everyone, particularly the aspirants that there was nothing to be suspicious of after all.”
The Wike threat
Asked to justify the threat earlier made by the governor to teach the party a lesson in the event that the PDP settled for a venue other than Port Harcourt, the party official said: “If you had listened to the governor very well, you could situate the cause of his grouse then. He said the state did not lobby to have the convention hold in Rivers but that when no state volunteered to host, he decided to accept it in the interest of the party.
“Again, I believe the aspirants too understood the importance of having the convention at a place where the PDP is very strong and has enough accommodation to cater for the needs of the delegates, observers and officials.”
On why Port Harcourt argument finally scaled through, the source also noted that for similar reasons, the All Progressives Congress, APC, held its convention in Lagos in 2014.
“Lagos was not the only state the APC was controlling when it had its convention that produced the then General Muhammadu Buhari as its presidential candidate, prior to the 2015 elections. There were reasons the organisers settled for Lagos.
“While times and seasons change, I want to say that the PDP has genuine reasons to agree on Port Harcourt and thankfully, all the presidential aspirants agree to these reasons which I think is good for all of them.
‘’Now that they have all agreed to back whoever picks the ticket, we can only say, Port Harcourt, here we come,” he noted.