Convention: PDP leaders chide President Buhari, ruling APC

Leaders of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took turn yesterday at the 2021 elective National Convention of the party in Abuja to throw jibes at the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, vowing to throw the ruling party out of office by 2023.

PDP’s acting National Chairman, Elder Yemi Akinwonmi, described the APC as clueless and that Nigerians needs a better hand to get them out of the current “mess”.

He called on all party members to come together, bury personal and collective differences to put the PDP and the interest of Nigeria above any consideration.

Speaking in the same vein, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar said Nigeria was on the edge of the precipice as the country was going through the most trying and difficult period of its existence.

The Wazirin Adamawa appealed to party members and all Nigerians to shun past differences, set aside political machinations to wrestle power from the APC in 2023.

He said the APC had “comprehensively” failed Nigerians.

“I have never seen this country in such a very bad shape, so disunited, so much unemployment, so much insecurity in its history. The APC has proven itself to be unequipped to lead the nation. They have shown themselves to be corrupt, in fact, the most corrupt, sectional and divisive party that was never prepared to lead this country.

“The decisions we take today will determine the future of trajectory of our party and our beloved party. We can’t afford to fail and we will not fail. We all put out hands together with sincerity of purpose rescue our great country, Nigeria,” he said.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the PDP 2021 National Convention Organising Committee (NCOC), Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State, urged those who had left the former ruling party to return in order to rescue Nigeria.

Urging members not to lose faith in the party, he said many of those that left the PDP for the APC were filled with regrets.

“Most of them are lucky to stage a comeback and as a magnanimous family, we are always glad to receive them with all privileges, back into our folds. For those, who are still contemplating a return, but are held back by any other force less than Nigeria, I call on you to break the force and return to where you rightly belong. It is time to rescue Nigeria,” he said.

At the convention, he said 34 candidates indicated interests for various national positions in the party, out of which 28 were cleared, two withdrew voluntarily and four were disqualified.

At the event, Fintiri announced that the planned amendment to the PDP constitution had been deferred to another date to accommodate the new Electoral Act Amendment Bill before the National Assembly.

“This convention will also not give us the opportunity to make and adopt amendments to our constitution. This is because we are foreseeing a need for more amendments after the new Electoral Act passed by the National Assembly is signed into law. We are therefore deferring the votes on constitutional amendments to a special convention to be held on any convenient date to be decided by the NEC,” he said.

Also speaking, the National Secretary of the PDP, Senator Umaru Tsauri, described the APC administration as a “government with power, mercy, and vendetta.”

“It is difficult to oppose a clueless and vicious government like the present government, a government with power, mercy and vendetta. But yet our governors are able to stand the intimidation and survive it,” he said.

Tsauri recalled that the PDP the National Working Committee (NWC) on the assumption of office in 2017 inherited 11 governors which increased to 16 after the 2019 General Elections.

“That was before the ruling party started implementing its policy of intimidation and harassment of some of our governors aimed at cowing them to join the ruling party. Since then, the party has won the Edo State governorship election, Senatorial, House of Representatives and other elections.”

But reacting, the APC said what the PDP said was a tacit acceptance of defeat.

The APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, who spoke with one of our reporters in a telephone interview, said the PDP had lost hope and could not reclaim power in 2023.

“They have already accepted defeat. They have accepted that the APC is far above them. If the APC led government is clueless, I don’t see why serving governors will leave the PDP to join the party in government.

“So the PDP is also clueless, that is why it is begging people who have left to return to its fold,” he said.

Also speaking, Sokoto State governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who is the Chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum said more members, including those that had left the party before, would soon join the party.

He stressed the need for the PDP to remain focused and disciplined as an opposition party.

Saying there were attempts to scuttle the party’s activities, he said the plots had failed and that the party would reclaim the lost power in 2023.

“It is not easy to keep a great party like PDP united. It is tough because we are a big party that has members from across the country and with various interests and desires. Diverse as we are, it is however clear to me that we are at our best when we remember that we must remain focused and disciplined for the sake of our country and for the benefit of our fellow Nigerians that are across the world.

“In Nigeria, it is tough to remain focused and disciplined being an opposition party. The temptation and allure of power can be overwhelming. Some have fallen along the way. Allow me to thank all those who found the steps to remain focused and disciplined and do the hard work that opposition requires. Analysts and observers agreed that there are attempts to scuttle our activities as a party and as a people.

“They are people that are working to present us as weak and in disarray but I am happy to report to the naysayers that PDP today is the strongest and formidable party in Nigeria.

Supporters of political heavyweights in the PDP yesterday besieged the convention with posters, banners, and placards projecting the image of their candidates.

Those rooting for Atiku carried posters with inscriptions such as “2023: Atiku is the answer,” “I stand with Atiku,” and “2023, Support Atiku.”

The supporters of the former Governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, were also seen in their branded white cloths and red caps chanting “Kwankwaso! Kwankwaso!”

Supporters of the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the incumbent Governor of Bauchi State, Senator Bala Mohammed, were equally sighted with posters and flyers of the Kauran Bauchi for 2023 which also flooded most stands in Eagle Square, Abuja.

The 2023 posters and banners of the immediate past President of the Senate, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, and Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, were also visible within and outside the venue.

Meanwhile, power brokers in the party directed delegates to vote according to the ‘unity list’ drafted prior to the convention.

Sources at the PDP national secretariat confided in our correspondent that the party had drafted a unity list containing names and positions of those who would win at the convention and form the next crop of the NWC.

Though consensus arrangements have been reached on most of the key positions of the NWC, it was hinted that some positions were left out, hence the need for a unity list that would define the voting pattern of delegates tonight.

Recall that a unity list also emerged at the 2017 national convention of the party which produced the Prince Uche Secondus-led NWC.

The unity list sighted by one of our correspondents shows the names of 21 new members of the NWC.

The list shows the preferred people expected to pilot the affairs of the party for the next four years starting from December 9 as Dr Iyorchia Ayu, Benue, National Chairman; Umar Iliya Damagum, Yobe, deputy national chairman (North); Taofeek Arapaja, Oyo, deputy national chairman (South); Senator Samuel Anyanwu, Imo, national secretary; Ahmed Yayari Mohammed, Gombe, national treasurer; and Umaru Bature, Sokoto, national organising secretary.

Others are Daniel Woyengikuro, Bayelsa, national financial secretary; Prof. Stella Effa-Attoe, Cross River, Women’s Leader; Muhammed Kadade Suleiman, Kaduna, youth leader; Kamaldeen Adeyemi Ajibade, SAN, Kwara, national legal adviser; Debo Ologunagba, Ondo, national publicity secretary; Okechukwu Obiechina Daniel, Anambra, national auditor; Arch. Setoji Kosheodo, Lagos, deputy national secretary; and Ndubuisi Eneh David, Enugu, deputy national treasurer.

They also include Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, Kebbi, deputy national publicity secretary; Sen. Ighoyota Amori, Delta, deputy national organising secretary; Adamu D.U Kamale, Adamawa, deputy national financial secretary; Hajaja Yakubu Wanka, Bauchi, deputy national women’s leader; Timothy Osadolor, Edo, deputy national youth leader; Okechukwu Osuoha, Abia, deputy national legal adviser; and Abdulrahman Mohammed, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), deputy national auditor.

The official announcement of the winners would be done after the voting exercise by the Chairman of the Electoral Sub-Committee.

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