The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday inaugurated its October 30 and 31 National Convention Committee, charging the committee to replicate the Port Harcourt 2018 convention which was described as free and fair in the political history of the party.
Also, the chairman of the convention committee, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State said that the national convention may adopt a consensus option where necessary during the convention.
In the same manner, the Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, said that the convention would mark the beginning of a strategic turnaround for Nigeria and help the party in its quest for victory in 2023.
Inaugurating the convention, the acting National Chairman of PDP, Elder Yemi Akinwonmi, charged the convention committee to replicate the history of the PDP national convention in 2017 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
According to Akinwonmi, “I make bold to say, on behalf of the National Working Committee, that the critical stakeholders of the party, are represented in the main committee, so also the geographical zones and the states of the federation are equally well represented.
“By the composition of this committee, Nigerians and indeed, all PDP stakeholders expect nothing less than a successful national elective convention, which were noted for.
“Our last convention in Port Harcourt was adjudged the best ever conducted, by any political party in Africa.
“I, therefore, call on leaders and members of the organising committee to not only sustain but also to improve upon what we experienced in Port Harcourt.
“I call on the chairman, his deputy, secretary and other members of the committee to close ranks, to make sure that their watchword remains success at the end of the event,” he stated.
He further said that the history of PDP previous conventions and based on the data available, the National Working Committee and indeed the National Executive Committee took time and carefully came up with the list of the highly respected party leaders to organise and conduct this noble exercise.
The chairman of the convention committee, Governor Fintiri pledged that he and members of the committee would conduct a transparent convention to the admiration of all members.
He also did not rule out a consensus election of new members of the PDP National Working Committee, but said, this would be subject to acceptance of all.
Fielding questions from newsmen shortly after the inauguration of the PDP national convention, the chairman gave indications on how the party would manage consensus, the emergence of members of the National Working Committee.
Fintiri said, “With the experience, we have had in the last convention, with the innovation in technology and the rest of them, I think we are going to depart completely from what we had in the last convention.
“Also, considering the calibre of the men and women that make up the convention committee, I have no doubt in my mind that this convention will come out one of the best. Nevertheless, if a position is zoned to a particular state, and they decide to field one person, we cannot say because we want to have competition in the convention to force them into a competitive election. We assure you that we are going to conduct one of the freest and fairest conventions which will be the take-off for our party for 2023.”
Also, he said that consensus arrangement would be allowed at the convention, where necessary.
Fintiri urged the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi convention zoning committee to hasten up with the zoning arrangements as “It is very necessary because that is where our job starts. Without them finishing their assignment, those who would want to contest and some of the preparations, particularly the accreditation cards, ballot papers will not be concluded without the zoning committee having also finished their job.
“We are going to work hand-in-hand and urge them to quickly finish their job so that those who are interested in any position will also quickly start running around the country to canvas for votes,” Fintiri said.
He denied that he has given the zoning committee an ultimatum to conclude its assignments, saying, “There is no ultimatum but I know that they are also party men and women who also believe in the success of this convention. So definitely, they are going to conclude their assignment and allow us space so that we can start deploying our knowledge, and technology of giving the best convention.”
On the chances of a court stopping the convention, Fintiri said, “We are equal to the task. The time is barely enough but we are adequately preparing. I don’t see any reason for any shift. We have written to INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) and we have virtually gotten the approval of the venue. So what stops us from giving the best NWC at the end of October?”
Also speaking the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Elumelu, said that national convention was significant because it marks the beginning of a strategic repositioning in PDP’s determined march with Nigerians to rescue and take back Nigeria from the stranglehold and misrule of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government.
He said that the calibre of leaders and members of this all-important committee showed that the party was on the right path for a very successful national convention and ultimate victory in 2023.
Indeed, he said that Nigerians are reassured and inspired by the unity and oneness of purpose prevalent in the party today.
According to Elumelu, “Their utmost solidarity resides with the PDP in their determination to oust the incompetent, corrupt, divisive and violent APC-led government and we must not let them down.
“This is because their only hope of returning to a life of peace, security, national cohesion and economic prosperity is in returning the PDP to power come 2023.”
In the last six years, the House of Representatives Minority Leader, said, “the APC-led government has shown itself to be nothing but a power-grabbing contraption, which has no interest in governance and the wellbeing of Nigerians.
“That is why the APC-led government has no strategy for wealth creation but is only interested in reckless borrowing, policy inconsistencies and treasury looting to devastate our economy and wreck the Naira which our party handed over to them at N167 to a dollar in 2015 to a disgraceful N567 to a dollar today.
“The APC-led government has compromised our national security and is now superintending over escalated bloodletting, terrorism and unrelenting acts of banditry to the extent that mass killing is becoming a new normal in our country.”
Elumelu lamented that it was indeed pathetic that under the APC-led government all the productive sectors of the country have been crippled. “Infrastructural decay and skyrocketed costs of food and essential commodities have made life unbearable in Nigeria. The only hope is returning the PDP to power in 2023 and we must not fail our compatriots.
“It is against this backdrop that we must go into the national convention with every sense of unity, duty and patriotism to elect competent, dedicated and experienced leaders to lead our party and Nigerians to victory in the 2023 general elections.
“In this regard, our party members and Nigerians, in general, expect the highest display of sportsmanship by aspirants to various positions so that we can have a smooth, successful, credible and people-oriented national convention. In all, the interest and wellbeing of Nigerians must be paramount,” Elumelu stated.
He assured that the PDP caucus in the House of Representatives would ensure that the House version of the electoral reforms was adopted.