The decision was taken at the NEC meeting which just ended at the national headquarters of the party in Abuja on Friday.
— Oraye St. Franklyn (@SaintOraye) September 28, 2018
Delegates to the convention are expected to elect the party’s presidential candidate for the 2019 general election.
Some aspirants had complained about the choice of Port Harcourt as the venue because it had the potential of being hijacked by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who is believed to wield tremendous influence in the former ruling party.
Mr Wike is also a close ally of Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, who is one of the presidential aspirants. He is believed by many to be subtly supporting the former Speaker in his aspirations to clinch the party’s ticket.
6. Furthermore, NEC expresses the readiness of the PDP to engage democratic stakeholders all over the world towards achieving a credible free and fair general election in February 2019.
— Official PDP Nigeria (@OfficialPDPNig) September 28, 2018
Briefing reporters at the end of the meeting, spokesperson of the PDP, Kola Ologbodiyan said, the choice of Port Harcourt was a “unanimous decision” at the NEC.
He also said the meeting assured all aspirants of a free and fair election during the convention. Mr Ologbondiyan also said the NEC resolved that all aspirants would sign an agreement with the party officials to accept the outcome of the convention.
The outgoing Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, also gave an insight into what transpired at the meeting.
“We had a successful meeting and all grey issues were resolved. Most popular among these grey issues is the venue of our national convention and we have successfully resolved this. We have taken a position that the convention will hold at Port Harcourt, Rivers State.”
Presidential aspirant and former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, also cleared the air on the rumours that he was not comfortable with the selection of Port Harcourt as the venue of the party’s congress.
“It is not true, because Port Harcourt is my second home. I don’t need accommodation in Port Harcourt. I don’t need security so it is not true. I am comfortable.”
Equally, Senate President Bukola Saraki, who is also an aspirant said the choice was acceptable to him.
“We all agreed to hold it at PH. Some of the issues that we are having before which were reported in papers, we discussed that. Everybody decided that we should stay with the party. “Where tempers flared, people apologised and everybody felt, yes there was a commitment to assure everybody that there will be free and fair primaries,
Meanwhile, the Former Senate President, David Mark, says the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is not afraid of division after its presidential primary because the party is confident of its leadership structure. He said this earlier today , when he visited Niger State. According to him, the idea that the PDP will break up after the primary is a mare presumption championed by people who are against the party.
The ex-Senate President said the 13 presidential aspirants of the party have agreed to support whoever emerges as the presidential flag bearer.