Pick Port Harcourt as convention venue
Deji Elumoye, Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum on Tuesday met with the party’s presidential aspirants, stating after the meeting that they would prefer a healthy primary contest to the attempt of the party leadership to produce a consensus presidential candidate.
The governors had in a communiqué on Monday resolved to have an all-inclusive meeting with all the party presidential aspirants, with the National Chairman, two national officers of the party, and the leaders of the party in both chambers of the National Assembly in attendance.
However, the governors agreed that the party’s national convention, where the presidential candidate would emerge, should be held in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
A source privy to the meeting told THISDAY that the governors resolved that all the aspirants should go for primaries.
The source revealed that Enugu, Akwa Ibom and Rivers States were suggested to host the convention, but Enugu and Akwa Ibom were discarded because of accommodation issues.
The source added, “The governors disagreed with the issue of consensus. They said that all the aspirants should go for the primaries to avoid unforeseen development. They want a contest among the aspirant so that the best can emerge.
“The issue of where to hold the convention came up, Enugu, Akwa Ibom and Rivers States were suggested, but Rivers State was selected. Enugu and Akwa Ibom were discarded because there are no enough hotels to accommodate the people that will come for the convention. Rivers States has enough accommodation and that was why it was selected.”
The governors had met with all the 13 presidential aspirants of the party in Abuja.
The meeting was presided over by Chairman of the forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose.
Although the details of the meeting held at the Asokoro, Abuja residence of Fayose was not made public, sources, however, told THISDAY that the governors discussed the presidential contest and opted for primary election instead of the consensus being advocated by the Board of Trustees of the party.
The party has already fixed October 6, 2018 as the date for the presidential primary.
At the end of yesterday’s parley between the 14 PDP governors and the aspirants, THISDAY learnt that appreciable progress was made on the issue of having a unity of purpose among the aspirants in the larger interest of the party.
This, sources said, was evident from the way the aspirants exchanged banters among themselves when they came out of the meeting.
The aspirants at the meeting include former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki; his predecessor, Senator David Mark; Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Atiku Tambuwal; Gombe State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo; and former Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido.
Others are former Governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso; former Special Duties Minister, Dr Taminu Turaki; Senator Datti Baba-Ahmed; former Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa; former Kaduna State Governor, Senator Ahmed Makarfi; and former Governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah Jang.
The PDP Governors in attendance include Mr. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State; Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State; Mr. Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State; and Chief Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State.