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As the Peoples Democratic Party PDP holds what political observers regard as a make-or-mar national convention in Adokyie Amasiameka stadium in Port Harcourt, on Saturday, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State who also doubles as the host has become instant bride Presidential Aspirants.
Governor Wike who has over the years provided needed war chest to rebuild the party when PDP was thorn in crisis after the losing the Presidential election in 2015 to the All Progressives Congress, APC. He not only provided the means, he also became a willing host to vital PDP stakeholders’ meetings.
The Governor Rivers State against all odds was able to wrestle the post of the National Chairman earlier zoned to the South West to Rivers State of the South South geopolitical zone for which Uche Secondus, from Andoni now occupies.
Investigation by our Correspondent reveals that Wike has become a vital political personality that all Presidential Aspirants must court ahead of the election of the Presidential flag bearer of the party to battle incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, flag bearer of APC today Friday and Saturday.
According to various sources that agreed to the confide in our Correspondent “Some Presidential Aspirants have sent their foot soldiers to Port Harcourt ahead of the Convention to get the ears of the Governor. So far, he is playing hard to get and he is tactfully keeping the Aspirant of his choice to close to his chest until the eleventh hour.
“Recall the case of the botched PDP convention during the ill-fated tenure of Senator Ali Modu-Sherrif as Caretaker Committee National Chairman? Wike and Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State were blamed for crisis. He is trying to be careful in order not to fall the apple cart. But it should be noted that some of Aspirants offered him Vice Presidential slot to woe him.”
Governor Wike had threatened PDP of dire consequences if it shifted the National Convention venue from Port Harcourt to somewhere else.
Wike said: “Those who are against the PDP convention holding in Port Harcourt don’t have the economic interest of Rivers and Niger Delta at heart.
“If you are telling the people of the state and by extension Niger Delta that you don’t want such event to hold in their domain as an aspirant, how will you act when you become a president? How do you expect the people you are telling that you don’t like their state to vote for you during the election?
“Why are they not acting in tandem with their campaign for the restructuring of Nigeria? From their opposition to Port Harcourt, it means the restructuring campaign is a mere lip service.”
Wike insisted that all the aspirants will enjoy a level playing field; stressing that the choice of Port Harcourt is not meant to give any aspirant an edge over others.
He said: “Every aspirant will be given a level playing field. That it is holding in Port Harcourt does not mean anybody will have undue advantage. What it will do for the state is that it will boost its local economy because groundnut, sachet water sellers and food vendors will have more sales. Hoteliers will also record increased business.
“That is the only thing Rivers state stands to gain from the holding of the convention in Port Harcourt; and anybody who is against Port Harcourt hosting the event does not like the state. He is against the economic interest of the state.”
He called on all PDP members to work together to wrest power from the All Progressives Congress (APC), instead of bickering over the choice of convention venue.
He said: “We need to work together; we don’t need any division at this moment. Our goal must be to win in 2019.”
The issue of venue was later resolved as the leadership of the party bowed to pressure from Wike for the National Convention to be held in Port Harcourt.
Latest update is that major hotels in the state capital have been fully booked by PDP faithfuls as lobby groups of various Presidential Aspirants have been on ground to reach out delegates and their leaders in their respective hotels.
Security has been beefed up in around the venue and Obiri-Ikwerre-Prof. Tam David West road leading to the stadium.
Senator David Mark just issued a statement through his media aide, Paul Mumeh cautioning the leadership of PDP to ensure that there is transparency in the choice of the Presidential candidate in order not to cause any acrimony in the party after the Convention.
Meanwhile, a coalition of Northern youths within the PDP accused the leadership of the party of conniving with Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike, to rig the presidential primaries of the party by moving the convention to Port Harcourt.
In a press statement signed by its convener, Honourable Awwal Dahiru, the group alleged that the plot by the Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee is to move the convention to Port Harcourt to enable Governor Wike install his preferred candidate.
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Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Former Vice President of Nigeria and leading aspirant for the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party, has emerged as the best candidate to defeat President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 presidential election.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, candidate in the forthcoming primaries of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) In an online Twitter poll conducted by @PDP_RIVERS, Atiku Abubakar, defeated Senate President Bukola Saraki, Governor of Sokoto, Aminu Tambuwal and former Governor of Kano, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso.
At the end of voting on Thursday, Atiku polled 48% of the total votes cast followed by Saraki with 37%, Kwankwaso 11% and Tambuwal 4%. In the poll conducted, 41,734 persons voted in the 6-day poll which commenced on 29th of September and ended in the afternoon of 4th of October.
Atiku has the highest votes of 20,032 compared to Saraki’s 15,442, Kwankwaso’s 4,591and Tambuwal’s 1,669.
In the poll, Voters were asked the question: “It is settled, that the @OfficialPDPNig primaries will hold in Rivers State on 6th October 2018. Who do you think should be the candidate to defeat Buhari of the failed APC in the 2019 presidential election”. The choices were Atiku, Saraki, Tambuwal and Kwankwaso.
The presidential primaries of the opposition PDP will hold in Port Harcourt October 6 and 7. A total of 12 aspirants are set to slug it out for the party’s ticket. They are Atiku, Saraki, Kwankwaso, Tambuwal, Sen. Ahmed Makarfi, Gov. Ibrahim Dankwambo, Sule Lamido, Attahiru Bafarawa, Tanimu Turaki Datti Baba-Ahmed, Sen. David Mark, and Sen. Jonah David Jang.