Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has begun preparations for the 2023 general election, particularly the presidential election, and set dates for the conduct of congresses across the country.
PDP said the congresses were expected to take place in 24 of the 36 states of the federation.
However, National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, told THISDAY that the party had not decided where the presidential candidate of the party would come from. Ologbondiyan said the party was concentrating on the Edo and Ondo states governorship elections for now.
Former vice president and the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, and the governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambawul, are said to be among those warming up for the presidential ticket of the party.
The congresses would take place at the wards, local governments and states in 24 designated states, ending with zonal congresses in five zones, except the South-west.
The dates for the elections have put politicians, including members of the state Houses of Assembly and National Assembly as well as governors on edge, because whosoever controls the elected officials at these levels would control the structures for the emergence of all categories of candidates for the general election.
A document obtained by THISDAY, signed by the National Organising Secretary of the PDP, Col Austin Akobundu, titled 2020 outstanding congresses, stated that the congresses would take place in 24 states. The states are Abia, Federal Capital Territory, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Cross Rivers, Delta, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba and Yobe States.
The documents said the congresses had been designated for different dates and timelines for their elections.
States like Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Cross Rivers, Delta and Ebonyi were listed as states that have completed their wards and local governments congresses and therefore do not need a repeat of the congresses.
However, for the above states, the national leadership of the party has mandated them to conduct their state congresses on August 8, while Akwa Ibom State is expected to conduct its on Thursday, July 30.
In Ekiti State, where Senator Biodun Olujimi and Ayo Fayose are fighting for supremacy, the ward congress is slated to hold on July 27, in two wards, while the local governments congresses would hold August 8 and the state congress on August 12, 2020.
The ward and local government congresses in Enugu and Imo states were designated as concluded, but their state congresses will hold on August 8 and August 1 respectively.
In Gombe State, the ward congresses are designated as concluded, but the local governments congress would hold in only one local government of Bilari on August 8.
In Jigawa, the ward congresses will hold on July 27, while in Kaduna, it would hold in four wards alone.
The ward congress in Kano was concluded but in the three states of Jigawa, Kaduna and Kano, the local governments congresses would take place on August 8 and state congresses on August 12 .
Katsina State is billed to hold its state congress on July 27, having completed its wards and local governments’ congresses.
However, there would be no congress in Nasarawa State because of court litigations. Stakeholders of the party are in court over disagreements in the wards, local governments and state congresses.
The document indicates that there would be ward congresses in Ogun State on July 23, while the local governments congresses will take place on July 27 and in Ondo State, all the wards and local governments congresses have been concluded but that the state congresses would hold on August 8.
Congresses would hold in Plateau State on July 27 in the remaining 16 wards, while local government congresses and state congresses would hold on August 8 and 12, respectively.
Sokoto State was listed as having completed its ward congresses, but would hold local governments and state congresses on August 8 and 12, respectively.
Taraba was listed as having completed its ward congresses but it would hold the local governments and state congresses on August 8 and 12 respectively, while Yobe State would hold its ward congresses on Monday, July 27. the local governments’ congresses would take place on August 8, while the state congress is billed for August 12.
PDP’s National Organising Secretary also said there would be zonal congresses in South-east, South-south, North-central, Northwest, and the North-east, on Saturday August 15.