PDP holds emergency meeting; may postpone convention to counter ‘APC-INEC collusion’
The Peoples Democratic Party has called an emergency meeting of its national working committee officials to discuss emerging issues of urgency, including possible postponement of its convention scheduled for Saturday.
The NWC meeting, which is currently underway in Abuja, is expected to thrash out issues around the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to extend deadline for conclusion of party primaries across the country.
INEC in a statement Friday afternoon said it was urged by an umbrella body of political parties to give additional time for primaries due to outstanding issues arising from the exercise nationwide. The decision shifted primaries’ deadline from June 3 to June 9.
To weigh the ramifications of the move, the main opposition party summoned its officials to agree on whether or not the deadline extension would give the ruling All Progressives Congress an undue advantage at the presidential election next February.
“We have strong reasons to believe that the extension was announced by INEC today to allow the APC properly digest the outcome of PDP’s convention and pick its candidate accordingly,” a PDP official with information about the meeting’s agenda told Peoples Gazette by telephone Friday night. “We were supposed to have our convention a day apart, but this latest move could give APC a window to shift its convention by additional days just to properly strategise against whoever emerged as flag-bearer at our convention.”
The PDP had scheduled its presidential primary for May 28-29; while the APC picked May 29-30, and both parties admitted the one-day gap won’t be sufficient for any outward manoeuvre on the party of the ruling party.
That undisclosed mutual arrangement has now been preempted by INEC with its announcement earlier today, our source added adding that they weren’t authorised to comment on ongoing party considerations.
Spokespeople for INEC, APC and PDP did not immediately answer calls seeking comments late Friday.
Amongst critical decisions, the APC has been grappling with involved whether or not the party would allow all its aspirants take part in the exercise or cancel its presidential primary altogether for a consensus candidate.
But postponing the election could come at a steep logistical price for the opposition party, its members feared. For one, aspirants and delegates have already converged on the capital ahead of the primary this weekend.
“Postponement will be a very difficult pill to swallow at this point,” party member Wale Odulana told The Gazette. “We arrived on Wednesday and we planned everything towards this weekend.”
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