2019: Delegates list crisis likely at PDP convention

Pdp

Lists of Lagos, Borno, Kano delegates ‘defective’

Party in last minute move to reduce aspirants

THE CONVENTION IN FIGURES

  • Senators 48
  • Reps 156
  • Governorship candidates 29
  • State chairmen, secretaries 74
  • Governors and deputies 25
  • National Delegates from local govts 774
  • Houses of Assembly members 330

A delegates list crisis is likely at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) convention, The Nation learnt last night.

The party yesterday handed over the list of delegates to its 13 presidential aspirants for scrutiny.

All the aspirants have engaged coordinators to screen the list for loopholes. It has been discovered that the list is incomplete as it does not have the names of many delegates from Lagos, Borno and Kano.

A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “We have received the list of delegates from the party. We have engaged experts, coordinators and experienced hands in party convention to screen the list.

“The immediate challenge is the discovery that the list is incomplete because it does not contain the exact number of delegates from Lagos, Borno and Kano.”

“The issues on the list of delegates from these three states can make or mar the national convention,” the source added, pleading not to be named because of the “sensitivity” of the matter.

He went on: “Already, we have been assured that Lagos State will conduct its primaries on or before Friday. We pray that there will be no issues in Lagos.

“In Borno State, there is leadership contest. The leadership recognised by court has been denied and rejected by PDP headquarters. In fact, the list of delegates compiled by the court-recognised leadership has been substituted.

“There is no way a party that wants to govern this country will defy the court and opt for imposed delegates from a state. The court can in turn invalidate the outcome of the convention.

“In Kano State, we also have legal issues which will impact on the list of delegates from the state.”

On how the game is playing out, a presidential aspirant admitted that the South-South and the South-East have more delegates.

The source said: “The truth is that most of the PDP-controlled states have more delegates. Our areas of emphasis has been states controlled  by governors.

“Although some states are not controlled by PDP, they have huge votes; states, like Kano, Kaduna, Imo and a few others.”

The South-South and South-East states will determine the winner going by the delegates’ list released last night.

The convention to pick the presidential candidate will hold from tomorrow in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

In the race are 13 candidates – a big crowd in the view of the party leadership, which yesterday launched a last ditch effort to reduce the figure.

The aspirants are former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal, former Minister Tanimu Kabiru Turaki; Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo, former Senate President David Mark; Senator Rabiu Kwankwanso; Senator David Jang,  former  Governor Sule Lamido;  former Interim National ChairmanAhmed Makarfi;  ex-Governor Attahiru Bafarawa;  and  educationist Dr. Datti Baba Ahmed.

Ten states in the South-East, South-South and some parts of the North have more delegates.

The states with huge voting strength in the South-South and South-East are Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Delta, Ebonyi, Cross River, Enugu,  Abia, Imo, Anambra and Bayelsa.

South-South and South-East control more than one-third of 3, 619 delegates.

The states with sizeable votes in the North are Kano, Taraba, Kaduna, Gombe, Katsina, Benue and Sokoto

Only Ekiti State has what can be considered as a “tie-breaking votes” among the states in the South-West.

Others whose votes are weighty are statutory delegates, including  members of the National Assembly and PDP members in all the 36 state Houses of Assembly especially in the 13 states the party is controlling.

The party leadership yesterday handed over the list of delegates to the aspirants.

There were issues with Kano State delegates following a restraining order on PDP by a Kano State High Court.

The order may render the votes of some Kano delegates invalid, putting Kwankwaso in a tight corner.

A source, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, said: “ All the aspirants are paying attention to delegates from the South-South and South-East because they host more states being controlled by PDP than the other four geo-political zones.

“So, they have more statutory delegates than other zones. If they are united and they go for block votes, they can determine the choice of the presidential candidate of PDP.

“The horse-trading in Port Harcourt by PDP governors and leaders of the party will also count in determining their presidential candidate.”

The PDP Constitution says: “There shall be a National Convention of the party which shall consist of (a) the National Chairman of the party, who shall be the Chairman of the Convention and other members of the National Executive Committee

(b) the President and Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who are members of the party

(c ) members of the National Assembly, who are members of the party

(d) State governors and Deputy Governors, who are members of the party;

(e) all gubernatorial candidates of the party, who shall be automatic delegates to the Convention

(f) members of the State Houses of Assembly, who are members of the party;

(g) members of the Board of Trustees

(h) members of the Zonal Working Committee and state party chairmen and secretaries, including  those of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja

(i) State Women and Youth leaders, including  those of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja

(j) one national delegate from each Local Government Area to be elected at the Local Government Area Congress for the purpose

(k) all elected local government council chairmen, who are members of the party

(l) former members of the National Working Committee who are still members of the party and

9n) former Deputy Presidents of the Senate and former Deputy Speakers of the House of Representatives who are still in the party

One of the aspirants spoke on the list of delegates, saying it gives room for suspicion, “but we are all studying it and by the time we get to Port Harcourt, we will make our feelings known”.

“What is left now borders on doing our permutations and reaching out to delegates for votes. All our field officers and strategists are already in Port Harcourt,” he added, pleading not to be named.

As part of the countdown to the convention, a former President of the Senate, Chief David Mark yesterday urged delegates to give him a chance.

In a statement, the former Senate President said he will remain the  “last Man Standing”.

The statement said: “I welcome you all to the National convention of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), holding in Port Harcourt, Rivers State from the 6th – 7th October 2018.

“As you all are aware, the time has come to find a lasting solution to the challenges facing us as a nation. The 2019 presidential election presents us with a unique opportunity to effect this turn around.

“The PDP as the largest political party having gone through its moments of self-examination is now more than ever before well positioned to deliver to Nigerians on their yearnings and aspirations.

“I have been with the party through thick and thin, especially in our most trying moments after our defeat in 2015. Believing that we will overcome, I stood firm and committed myself to rebuilding and rebranding the party which to the glory of God is once more a very beautiful bride admired by all.

“I present myself as a worthy servant and vehicle for achieving the rescue mission of our dear country.”

To Mark, his “antecedent over the years both in the military and political engagements unarguably places him “in a solid position to lead this effort”. “I also have enough experience in the Executive and Legislative Arms of Government to drive this mission for the wellbeing of our beloved nation,” he said.

He sees himself as “the most prepared” of all the aspirants. “I will remain the last man standing for the party.  I have kept faith with the party, I have been tried and tested and I remain steadfast,” Mark said.

“A vote for me is a vote for the continuous corporate existence of Nigeria and the preservation of our brotherly heritage,” he concluded.

The Kabiru Tanimu Turaki (KTT) Campaign Organisation said it was confident that  delegates to  the convention will not be swayed by money.

It said: “PDP delegates are undoubtedly and arguably the most discerning and democratic delegates in the contemporary Nigerian political parties.

“They are known for their intelligent decision-making, high degree of responsibility, integrity, patriotism and loyalty to the party. The delegates are conscious of the fact that aspirants may want to crave for their support through financial inducements or otherwise.

“However, that has never motivated them to deviate from insisting on more elevating values when they vote. They always vote for aspirants who have unquestionable track record, character, competence and, above all, loyalty to the party while also having the capacity to move the country forward.

“This is why KTT stands the chance of having the people’s mandate. His flawless track record and outstanding party loyalty.”

The fate of one of the aspirants, Kwankwaso was an issue last night over the list of delegates from Kano State.

There was a restraining order on PDP which might not be vacated till November when the hearing of the substantive matter begins.

A source said: “The Convention may have to contend with legal issues over Kano Delegates. When Kwankwaso and others defected back to PDP, the NWC dissolved the State Executive Committee (SEC) to accommodate them in a 60-40% formula in their favour. That was why Shekarau defected to APC.

“Some members went to court and a Kano State High Court presided over by Justice N S. Umar restrained the national and state leadership of PDP from tampering with the Kano state chapter of the party.

“The judge said: ‘This honourable court restrains any other person or persons from disturbing and or intimidating the administration of the state, local government areas or ward officers from doing anything or taking any steps that are likely to interfere with or disturb the officers tenure which are protected under Section 47 (1) and Section 223(1) (a) of the 1999 constitution.’

“Kwankwaso has taken over the affairs of PDP and Kano does not have SEC and LG delegates for the convention. The state has only BoT and national delegates.

“The PDP has ignored the court order. The implication is that Kano votes may be declared null and void by the court or the aggrieved members may seek a restraining order to stop the convention.”  (The Nation)

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