Less than two weeks to the scheduled national convention where the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will pick one of the 13 candidates are currently jostling to fly the party’s flag for the February 2019 Presidential Election, the venue for the convention has now become a problem.
Earlier, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party had settled for the Rivers State capital, Port Harcourt, as a venue of the convention. However, during a recent joint meeting between the NEC of the party and the party’s Board of Trustees (BOT), some few voices, particularly from the BOT, began to rise against the choice of Port Harcourt as a venue of the convention.
Their contention was that since the Rivers State Governor, Nyeson Wike, was alleged to be already interested in one of the Presidential aspirants, hosting the convention in Port Harcourt might give Wike’s preferred aspirant undue advantage over the others, since according to them, Wike could influence the outcome.
While some party members were easily sold to this idea and began to demand that the PDP should look for another venue for the convention, others, however, were insisting that Port Harcourt should remain the venue. This has now become a big problem for the PDP.
For the Rivers State Governor, Nyeson Wike, those who were opposed to Port Harcourt as the venue for the convention, were enemies of Niger Delta people. According to him, he never bargained for Port Harcourt as a venue for the convention, but since the party had already picked the town, it would be unfair to shift it away from Port Harcourt.
He believed that hosting the convention in Port Harcourt would help boost the economy of Rivers State, and decried the situation where Nigerians would only be interested in the resources of Niger Delta, but when it came to what would benefit the people of the area economically, they would begin to shy away.
Wike threatened that the people of Rivers State would teach the PDP a bitter lesson if it decided to move the convention away from Port Harcourt and described some Presidential aspirants who were against Port Harcourt as a venue for the convention as moles in the party. He categorically stated that Rivers State delegates would not vote for such aspirants.
It may be pertinent to state that a lot of people believe that the only way the PDP would be able to defeat the APC in next year’s election was to get its acts together by successfully managing a large number of Presidential aspirants currently under its fold.
Our fear is that even though all the PDP Presidential aspirants were said to have signed undertaking that they would support whoever would emerge as the party’s Presidential Candidate if the process for the selection of such candidate was free and fair, it now appears that the venue of PDP convention has become another way to fault the process and which any Presidential candidate could easily cling on to work against the party in next year’s election.
The PDP should therefore not allow this infantile issue of convention venue to divide them, more so since every indication is pointing to the fact that the party has all it takes to defeat the ruling party in next year’s election, only if they could come together.
That’s why we want both the lovers and elders of the party to rise to the challenge and prevail on the leadership of the PDP to amicably resolve their differences.