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Nigeria: PDP Govs Hold Meetings in UK, Spain on Consensus Presidential Candidate

In a bid to ensure that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) emerges through a consensus arrangement, the governors elected on the platform of the party have

In a bid to ensure that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) emerges through a consensus arrangement, the governors elected on the platform of the party have undertaken two European tours in quick succession, THISDAY’s investigation has revealed.
THISDAY gathered that the governors held strategic meetings in those tours as part of their ongoing efforts to ensure that the issue of the presidential candidate of the party does not polarise its members along regional lines.
The investigation has also revealed that the governors were also billed to meet Sunday night in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, after a reception to be held in honour of the new Chairman of the party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that Ayu’s utterances during his inauguration have shown that the sole intent of the opposition party is to grab power by any means in 2023.
The first European tour by the PDP governors, it was learnt, was a visit to London moments after the October 30 and 31 national conventions while the second visit was a visit to Spain last week.
The first visit to London was said to have been undertaken by the governors of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike; Mr. Seyi Makinde (Oyo); Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), and Mr. Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom).
Among the governors on the second trip to Spain were: Wike; Makinde; Ikpeazu; Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa); and Dr. Samuel Ortom (Benue).
It was also gathered that the governors of Bauchi State, Senator Bala Mohammed, and Sokoto State,
Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambawul did not attend the meetings due to their ongoing consultations on their presidential aspirations.
A source privy to the strategic meetings told THISDAY last night that Governor Ortom is the architect of a consensus presidential candidate for the PDP and would host the meeting in Makurdi tonight.
According to the source, the PDP governors while in London met a former Senate President, Dr. Bukola
Saraki.
He further disclosed that it was from London that Saraki arrived in Lagos last week to receive the Lagos APC members, who defected to the opposition party
“PDP governors from the South agreed at the London meeting that they must play a significant role in the choice of who will fly the party’s presidential ticket,” he said.
He further disclosed that because of Wike’s relationship with Real Madrid Football Club, he travelled, in addition with other governors, with the Adamawa State governor, Fintiri who did not make the earlier London trip.
Real Madrid has a football academy in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
The governors posed for photographs at Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, which went viral.
“At their Real Madrid meeting, the governors reiterated the need for a consensus presidential candidate to avoid the rancour that could emanate as a fall-out to an elective convention.
“But the PDP governors have not agreed on any choice of a consensus candidate, whether from South or North,” the source added.
It was gathered that the Governor of Sokoto State, Tambuwal, and his Bauchi State counterpart,
Mohammed was yet to buy into the idea of a consensus candidate.
The source, who was at the London and Real Madrid meetings, told THISDAY that Oyo State governor, Makinde, has also not bought into the idea of a consensus candidate.
Tambawul, it was gathered, said that he was still consulting on his presidential ambition and would soon come up with his decision.
At the swearing-in ceremony of the new members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP on Friday in Abuja, the campaign posters of both Tambuwal and Mohammed were struggling for the limited space at the International Conference Centre, the venue of the inauguration ceremony.
As part of the efforts to smoothen some rough edges on the consensus presidential candidate, the PDP governors will again meet in Makurdi after the reception for the new national chairman, Ayu.
Meanwhile, a former Director-General of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Osaro Onaiwu, has called on all PDP 2023 presidential aspirants to rein in on their aides and their supporters ahead of the 2023 presidential primary election of the party.
The founding DG of the PDP Governors’ Forum harped on the need for a common front from across the various presidential camps of the party.
“Forming a common front as we approach the 2023 presidential poll, even though from the various camps is essential in ensuring we go into the presidential election which is the ultimate for the party, as one house.
“To this extent, I call on presidential aspirants of our great party, Peoples Democratic Party, to please ensure they show leadership by calling their followers and their aides to order, ahead of their campaigns. As consultations and campaigns commence in earnest, I urge the presidential aspirants to do so with the spirit of sportsmanship, which is the hallmark of every democracy.
“As a party seeking to take power at the centre and across all of the country, we can begin to show leadership now ahead of 2023, with the way we conduct ourselves ahead of the primaries. Every presidential aspirant of PDP is a leader and a potential president, only that we can have only one presidential candidate for the 2023 polls,” Onaiwu said.
National officers who served as deputies in the immediate past National Working Committee of the PDP had warned the Ayu, to be wary of powerful forces in the party.
They warned that the strong party leaders who saw to his emergence could also remove him from office.

APC: PDP Only Desperate to Grab Power in 2023

In a related development, the APC has said that Ayu’s utterances have shown that the sole intent of the opposition party is to grab power by any means in 2023.
The Secretary of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Senator John Akpanudoedehe, in a statement issued yesterday, said the new PDP leadership must prove to Nigerians that it is willing and ready to discard its penchant for impunity and not empty rhetoric of 2023 hand-over notes.

He said: “Going by the utterances and direction of the new PDP leadership, any hope of a re-focused opposition party expected to atone for misdeeds in the country when it was in government for 16 years and as a failed opposition party following PDP’s sack in 2015 have now been quickly dashed.
“The PDP’s sole intent is power grabbing by any means, ignoring the need for genuine restitution, return of stolen public funds and assets still in possession of politically exposed persons during its 16-year administration and ultimately providing a truly viable and credible opposition our democracy needs to thrive.”
Akpanudoedehe noted that the Ayu-led PDP has shown early signs that it was not different from the immediate past leadership of the opposition party.
He added that the sit-tight syndrome headlined by the PDP’s ill-fated third-term agenda has been discarded as an undemocratic template.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari had assured Nigerians and the international community of free and fair elections in 2023, even as he pledged a peaceful transfer of power, saying, “that is the stuff of true progressives and statesmanship.”
Akpanudoedehe stressed that the priority of this administration has been clearing the national rot left behind by the PDP’s shambolic handling of insecurity in its early days, its financial heist under the guise of procuring military weapons, fuel subsidy rackets, diverted loans, voodoo economics, abuse of public institutions and electoral fraud.
He added that despite obvious challenges on the path, the Buhari’s government is successfully clearing the rot and returning the country to its deserved place.
Akpanudoedehe listed Buhari’s efforts to include what he described as continuous electoral reforms and non-interference in the functions of INEC; institutional reforms which have ensured financial autonomy for local government councils; financial autonomy of state legislatures and judiciaries; assenting the long-delayed Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), among others.
Chuks Okocha and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
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