The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)'s National Convention started on Saturday, October 6 and is expected to end tomorrow, Sunday, October 7.
The opposition party's bigwigs and delegates are in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital for the make or mar convention and presidential primary where they will elect the presidential candidate that will be slugging it out with President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
The party said it has put in place strategies to ensure that the presidential primary is transparent.
According to the PDP national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbindiyan, the National Working Committee (NWC) has broadened the participation of the presidential aspirants by giving them opportunity to nominate two people each into the accreditation and electoral committees respectively, sunlike in the past when aspirants were restricted to nominating agents to represent them during delegates elections.
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He said: “Each of the presidential aspirant will nominate two people into the accreditation committee and another two into electoral committee. This is to ensure that none of the aspirants is left in the dark as to what the party is doing concerning the convention.
“The PDP will publish names of all the delegates and make same available to our presidential aspirants before the convention.”
Ologbondiyan added that the party was looking forward to the emergence of a candidate with the capacity to quickly revamp the economy upon election, with a view to bringing to an end to “the disastrous stewardship of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress, APC, administration.’’
Governor Nyesom Wike, on his Twitter page, welcomed party members to Rivers state were the convention is holding.
At present, the PDP has about 13 presidential aspirants who want to emerge as the flagbearer of the major opposition party in the 2019 presidential election.
The aspirants are: Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; Senator Bukola Saraki; Ibrahim Dankwambo; Rabiu Kwankwaso; Aminu Tambuwal; Ahmed Makarfi; Jonah Jang; Senator David Mark; Sule Lamido; Atahiru Bafarawa; Tanimu Turaki; Datti Baba-Ahmed; and Stanley Osifo.
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Who will eventually emerge as the candidate of the Nigeria's main opposition party to contest againt President Buhari, Legit.ng is fully on ground to provide live updates of the happenings at the convention.
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7:40am - Accreditation of delegates begins
9:00am - Police turn back party members without authentic PDP identity cards.
9:03am - Argument ensues between Police officers, NSCDC personnel over protocol.
10:30am - Official PDP shares pictures of the event venue on their twitter page.
10:40am - Chairman of PDP convention committee, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa arrives.
11:12am - Kwara PDP delegates arrive adorning Saraki branded caps.
12:30pm - Governor Ikpeazu leads Abia state’s 126 delegates to the PDP convention.
2:11pm: Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, arrives the venue of the convention.
2:30pm - Kogi and Niger states' delegates being accredited at the arena.
A physically challenged delegate from Sokoto waits for his turn during accreditation.
A picture of Rivers state delegates waiting.
The voting cubicles where delegates will vote their preferred choice to emerge as the PDP presidential candidate in 2019.
2:47 pm - Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state addresses journalists, says delay in convention is due to the spill over of state congresses and primary elections in various states.
3:29pm - Singer and record producer, Davido, arrives the venue of the convention. Davido is the nephew of PDP chieftain, Ademola Adeleke.
Police anti-bomb squad are on ground at the convention arena.
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5.07 pm - Kola Ologbondiyan says the number of delegates for the convention would be announced when the party enters into the election proper. He says Nigerians are looking to the PDP to come up with the candidate that can match Buhari.
“Whoever among the candidates emerges, has the capacity,” he said adding that the joy in the PDP is that the party is rebranded and refocused.
5.13 pm - Aminu Turaki, a DP presidential aspirant and ex-minster under former president Goodluck Jonathan's administration, reportedly stepped down for the Senate president, Bukola Saraki, at the party's National Convention holding in Port Harcourt. Turaki is said to have taken the decision during the ongoing party's national convention in Port Harcourt.
5.21 - Ifeanyi Okowa, the governor of Delta and chairman of the convention committee, says that late arrival of delegates delayed the take-off of the convention. He adds that the most challenging part of the convention is the inability of delegates to arrive early.
The delegates are being meticulously screened as they troop in but accreditation is still yet to commence, according to NAN. The delegates were made to pass through three gates of screening before getting into the main bowl where the election would take place.
To enter into the main bowl was made so difficult by the committee that many journalists were not allowed to enter in spite of their accreditation cards.
6.03 pm: - Former aviation minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, declares that the party would support any of the aspirants that emerges during the primary election. He also believes that the party's eventual candidate will win the 2019 presidential election.
6.08 pm - Accreditation of delegates for the 2018 primary election of the presidential candidate of the PDP is currently going on outside the main stadium of the Adokiye Amesiemeka Sports Complex, Igwurita-Ali in Rivers state, venue of the convention.
It is learnt that the deputy Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu; the Abia state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu and several other leaders of the PDP are currently seated.
6.23 pm - Governor Seriake Dickson says the leadership of the PDP has resolved to use the convention to showcase an example of democracy. He says the convention chairman is fully in charge and that there is no inducement from any of the aspirants.
He says the convention would not come up with any imposition and that it is the aspirant that the delegates elect that everyone would rally round. He reveals that the party’s decision not to impose was behind the refusal of the governors to hold any meeting over the convention.
7.38 pm - The chairman of the convention committee and governor of Delta state, Ifeanyi Okowa, commends the aspirants for their maturity. He also promises that the primary election would be credible.
8.05 pm - David Adedeji Adeleke, better known by his stage name Davido, performs live at PDP convention where the party’s presidential primaries would hold.
8:52 pm - Uche Secondus, the national chairman of PDP, declares convention open and says the subject of the event is 'Nigerians, take back your country'. “For 16 years, we piloted the affairs of this country without engaging in blame game like the present administration. We reformed the electoral system which enabled the opposition win the election 2015. We have learnt our lessons and with this convention, we are set to take this country to the path of greatness,” he says.
9.06 pm - Secondus says the PDP is now in control of the National Assembly, an unprecedented feat in the annals of our country. He describes the PDP as an institutional memory, owned by Nigerians. “All is not well with our nation. The situation in our country is very disturbing. The ruling APC has shown it lacks the wherewithal to lead this nation,” he says and asks for one minute silence to honour those murdered across Nigeria in the last three years.
“Governance has never been this bad in our country. The APC has become a safe haven, an asylum for underhand politicians. The EFCC has been a willing tool to hunt down opposition politicians,” he declares.
“Our nation has never been disunited as it is today. Our economy has stagnated and poverty has risen exponentially. I call our country men to rise from the valley to the hilltop by restoring our sense of national purpose and destiny,” Secondus said.
9.21 pm - Secondus declares: “Our nation has never been disunited as it is today. Our economy has stagnated and poverty has risen exponentially. I call our country men to rise from the valley to the hilltop by restoring our sense of national purpose and destiny. PDP will run an inclusive government.
"The growing feeling of marginalisation across the nation will be addressed. This is the first time we are conducting real primaries. The whole world is watching. President Buhari, it is time to go home. Let's take back our country.”
9:18 pm - Governor Okowa addresses convention, says delay in the commencement of the convention was due to late arrival of delegates. "We are proud of our party. We are proud of our leaders. We are proud of the NWC and more importantly, we are proud of our presidential candidates. We thank them for their cooperation," he said.
9.49 pm - There are speculations that the president of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has pegged down former governor of Anambra state, Peter Obi, as his running mate in the event that he clinches the ticket of the PDP for the presidential election.
9pm - The speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, addresses convention anf the delegates, asks aspirants to accept final result.
10:04pm - Atiku Abubakar addresses delegates. "On this day, you have a most important decision in your hands. You must decide who will represent our great party, the PDP, to be our presidential candidate in 2019. Four years ago, the people of Nigeria voted for change, today they are not happy for the change
"Our government has become less transparent and deaf to the voices of Nigeria. It is time to get our country working again. Upon elections, I will work with you - the delegates, and all Nigerians to restructure the country," he says.
10.10 pm - The MC reveals that a presidential aspirant, Datti Baba-Ahmed has been blocked to enter the venue.
10.13 pm - Attahiru Bafarawa addresses the convention. “As a democrat, I know the rules of the game. I started politics in 1976. I want to be a Nigerian president, not a regional president or a religious president. I went round the country during my campaign by road to see things myself. You can't build the economy without good roads. If you give me your mandate, I will not let you down. As a democrat, I will accept the verdict of the delegates,” he said.
10:19 pm - Ibrahim Dankwambo, one of the presidential aspirants, addresses convention. “Our great party has solutions to most of the problems in the country today. Our party has trained a lot of people who can take up any responsibility in the country today.
“I have been privileged to work in one of the best accounting firms in the world. I have been privileged to work in CBN for 16 years, accountant general for eight years and governor for eight years. When they ran away in 2015, I stayed back in PDP. If the delegates decide that somebody is more competent for this party. I will abide by the decision and support the candidate,” he said.
10:26pm - Datti-Ahmed addresses convention. “I stand for quality living and improved economy because I cannot stand the poverty aggravated by the government of APC. My dear delegates, I am here for you to make Nigeria proud,” he says.
10:34 pm - Jonah Jang, another presidential aspirant, address convention. He says: “Today is historic as we have the opportunity to rescue Nigeria. I am highly experienced to fly the flag of the PDP and change the change. This opportunity should be given to one of us who have stayed back and suffered for the party.
“I decided to leave the comfort seat in the Senate to come to the field and contest for the president. PDP is a choice for this nation and I am here to carry the PDP flag. I am here to secure Nigeria, to secure cities and villages, to secure farms and businesses.
"Vote me and Nigeria will have a definitive restructuring. I want to assure our youths that I want to lay a foundation for you to come into government,” he says.
10:42pm - Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, a former governor of Kano and presidential aspirant, addresses the delegates. “Today is the right day to apologize our former administration. The administration we thought was the worst we have seen the worst now. All the political commanders who fought the PDP in 2015 are back to restore the party in power. Try to vote for the candidate that will ensure our party's victory in 2019.
"The divisions in this country has never been together. Kwankwaso: I want to assure Nigerians we will do appropriate restructuring and reforms,” he says.
10:52pm - Alhaji Suleiman Lamido, another presidential aspirant, addresses the convention. “I am not here to narrate my achievements because you know me and I know you. You and I are the same thing. You are my mirror and I am your mirror. In the last 20 years, PDP captures Nigeria's history. When you take your ballot paper to cast your vote, vote your conscience,” he says.
10:59pm - It is time for Senator Ahmed Makurdi to address the convention. "Today, the enemies of democracy should either repent or take their own lives because the PDP is back and stronger. Even if I don't get nominated, I will be happy, because we have been able to get an opposition party to be a government in waiting. Restructuring is not a personal programme of any aspirant. It is a programme of the PDP," he said.
11:08pm - David Mark, a former president of the Senate and current aspirant for the presidential ticket, addresses the delegates after he was escorted by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state to the podium. “If given the opportunity to carry the flag the party, I will introduce quick action to unite this country. It is the policy of the PDP that Nigeria should be restructured for the good of us all.
We have a blueprint that will revive the economy of this country in 730 days. It is doable. I believe that with the PDP, we will be in government and implement our manifestoes. In the event I don't emerge, I will support whoever emerges,” he says.
11:16 pm - Senate President, Bukola Saraki, takes the stage as he addresses the convention. “I stand here humbled, hopeful, determined. I stand here as millions of Nigerians are watching us, because we carry their hopes and aspirations. We must vote for somebody who has the capacity to move this country forward
“If you are looking for a courageous president, you will vote for me in the next two hours. Let us work together and find someone who will unite this country. Today is the day we can open a new chapter in this country. Don't let us to vote for today, let us vote for today and tomorrow. This is a time for a youthful president. Because the president is a 24/7 job,” he says.
11:22 pm - Governor Aminu Tambuwal addresses convention. “I am just 52years but I have had the privilege to be a member of House of Reps for 12 years and speaker and then a governor. I am a governor, lawyer and life bencher, I shall provide a 21st century leadership in Nigeria. Nigeria needs fresh ideas we must as citizens of this country begins to create wealth with science and technology.
"If for any reason, I am not the one that emerge as the flagbearer, I will work 100 per cent for whoever emerges. If for any reason, I am not the one that emerge as the flagbearer, I will work 100 per cent for whoever emerges,” he says.
11:31 pm - Tanimu Turaki addresses convention delegates. “Nigeria is struggling with issues of nepotism and poverty. We need to choose a person that can stand up for using 2019. Even among the best, we must present the bestest of the best
“We need a candidate that has the political will that will be fair minded and have the fear of God. I say to you distinguished delegates, that we should shine our eyes. We need a candidate that will savage Nigeria from the twin malady of hunger and poverty. Anyone of us who gets it, we will line up behind him and support him to win the election for our party,” he says.
5:00 am - Oyo state PDP governorship candidate, Seyi Makinde, casts his vote
7:50 am - Agents sit as sorting of votes continue
At the end of the voting process and counting of votes, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was declared winner of the primary election and will face Muhammadu Buhari of the APC in the 2019 presidential election.
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