By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA— Ahead of October 5 presidential primaries of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Vanguard has uncovered reasons for the adoption of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, as the preferred venue by governors elected on the platform of the party.
In their meeting in Ekiti State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja late Tuesday night, the PDP governors settled for the Garden City as venue for the all-important convention.
An insider, who attended the meeting, told Vanguard in confidence, yesterday, that security informed the choice of Port Harcourt, adding that in consideration of the skirmishes at Wadata Plaza, headquarters of the party, last week when former vice president and presidential hopeful, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, submitted his Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms, Abuja was ruled out instantly.
According to him, the governors also dismissed Abuja, given the last minute withdrawal of the use of Eagle Square for the presidential declaration of one of its leaders, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, recently.
He said: “The governors may not have issued a strong statement in condemnation of last week violence when thugs bearing the flags of the ruling party, trailed one of our presidential aspirants to our party secretariat but they were very disturbed.
“Convention is not like any other event, it is the highest organ of the party. Normally, you would like to think that the PDP will have the Eagle Square in mind for its convention. But the governors agreed that if a PDP leader was recently denied its use, there is a possibility it can happen again. So, they settled for Port- Harcourt.”
Only transparent primaries is good enough—Ex-Minister
As the debate on whether a consensus candidate is what the party needs to challenge the ruling party in the 2019 polls lingers, a former Minister of South West extraction has cautioned the party against failing to keep faith with its own pledge.
He added that politics, being a dynamic game, the party would have to ditch “whatever permutations” it has in its kitty and stick with its tag of “a repositioned platform,” to win the respect of not only its members but also Nigerians.
“Promises are meant to be kept and based on what we are witnessing today, only a transparent primary election will pacify these big men (Presidential aspirants), none of which believes the other stands a better chance.
“If you listen to the utterances of some of these aspirants recently, you will agree with me that their promise to support whoever emerges the presidential flag bearer is premised on the conduct of a transparent primary election. This support will not come if the party forces them to adopt a consensus candidate.”