File image of PDP’s convention venue.
…Defection as campaign tool
…Tambuwal likely to emerge
By Dirisu Yakubu
Port Harcourt- As delegates of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP converged at the Adokie Amiesimaka stadium, Port-Harcourt to elect the party’s Presidential candidate for the 2019 elections, the aspirants are hanging on to “loyalty” as an instrument of campaign against defectors, who returned to the party recently primarily to contest the highest elective office in the land.
The aspirants most of whom arrived the Rivers state capital 24 hours to the big event have in the past few hours, reached out to delegates in a last minute attempt to win their votes.
In what appears a move targeted at defectors aspirants including Sokoto state governor, Aminu Tambuwal, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, former Kano state governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, and Senate President, Bukola Saraki; “The loyal aspirants,” are calling on delegates to reward their commitment to the party by settling for one of them, though they were yet to endorse any in their rank as at the time of filing this report.
The loyal aspirants made up of former Kaduna state governor, Ahmed Makarfi, his Jigawa, Kano, Plateau and Sokoto counterparts, Sule Lamido, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Jonah Jang and Attahiru Bafarawa respectively as well as immediate past Senate President, David Mark and former Minister of Special Duties, Tanimu Turaki met two hours ago in a bid to execute their plan.
In a bid to lend credence to their move, Senator Mark earlier in the day made a remark that left many wondering what may play out in the next few hours.
“We know those who are good party men and women. We know those who absconded when we had challenges. We have rebuilt and rebranded the party. They are welcome back. But it will be unjustified for them to inherit the product of our struggle,” Mark stated just as delegates from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory were making their way to the Adokie Amiesimaka stadium, venue of the incident.
Stakeholders intensify support for Tambuwal
Like Eneke the bird in Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart,” which perfected the act of flying without perching same way as men learnt to shoot without missing; Tambuwal’s men are leaving nothing to chance in a bid to beat 12 other aspirants in the battle for the sole ticket.
About an hour ago, Saraki met with Tambuwal in a move that is likely to fetch more votes for the youthful governor. The meeting which held in the Port Harcourt metropolis in an undisclosed location is one in the series earlier put together by some governors elected on the platform of the party to ensure victory for one of their colleagues.
A battle of posters, T-shirts, face-caps, others
Despite last week criticisms of governor Nyesom Wike’s threat to “teach the PDP a lesson,” while the controversy over the choice of the Garden City lingered, it is almost impossible to fault his insistence now on hosting the event.
Every where in the city, posters, T-shirts and various souvenirs are on sale with vendors making brisk business in the process.
Atiku, a master of the game deserves a prize for literally shutting the stadium down with horde of supporters all adorning T-shirts and face caps bearing his image and name. On Friday, carefully selected ladies wearing the Atiku branded T-shirts were on hand at the Port Harcourt airport to specially welcome delegates to the Rivers state capital.
At the stadium, a mini market of sort has opened with vendors of fast food, Newspapers, the PDP Constitution, branded handkerchiefs, face towels and scores of items all wearing timeless smiles.
Who is here?
It is a gathering of PDP bigwigs at the event. At the time of filing this report, Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Delta state governor and Chairman, Convention Planning Committee, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, Convention Planning Secretary and Ebonyi state governor, David Umahi are all in the stadium.
Others are the Lagos state PDP governorship candidate, Jimi Agbaje and former Women Affairs Minister, Hajia Zainab Maina among others.
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