PDP picks Port Harcourt as convention venue

…as Wike apologies for outburst

The National Executive Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday resolved the lingering crisis over the choice of venue for its national convention.
The NEC meeting, which was held at the national headquarters of the party, agreed to hold the convention at Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The presidential candidate of the party for the 2019 election is expected to emerge at the convention.
The convention will now hold in the state between October 6 and 7.
It was gathered that the Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike, however apologised to the meeting over his outbursts and threat over the move by some people to make sure that the convention was taken out of the state.
The NEC meeting, which was presided over by the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, was also attended by some presidential aspirants including former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; a former Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi; President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and a former Minister of Special Duties, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki (SAN).
Also at the meeting were a former member of the Senate, Datti Baba-Ahmed and the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal.
Apart from the issue of venue, it was gathered that the budget for the convention and number of delegates were also ratified.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, who briefed journalists after the meeting, said that all the presidential aspirants had agreed to be at Port Harcourt for the convention.
He also said that the aspirants were given assurance of a level-playing field by the party.
He said, “All our presidential aspirants were assured of a level-playing field, and they were told that none of them would be accorded any form of preferential treatment.”
He added, “The NEC also approved the budget for the 2018 national convention which will hold in Port Harcourt, Rivers state.
“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 an agreement with our party in order to ensure that the outcome of 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 at the national convention. The aspirants collectively assured the party also that their fears over the Port Harcourt convention has been allayed by the party.”
On why the party caved in to Wike’s threat, Ologbondiyan said the party resolved the issue, using its internal conflict resolution mechanisms.
Wike had, earlier in the week, threatened to deal with the PDP should it bow to pressure to move the convention away from his state.
A party official, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said that Wike apologised for his outbursts and pleaded with party leaders to gloss over the threats.

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