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Wike hosts Tambuwal and Atiku as PDP settles on Port Harcourt – why it matters


Wike hosts Tambuwal and Atiku as PDP settles on Port Harcourt – why it matters

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will hold its national convention on September 6th and 7th at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt.

The previous sentence may seem like a simple, straightforward, routine piece of information – but it’s not. In the past week, the choice of venue for the PDP convention had threatened to destroy the fragile peace in the party.

Why it matters

First, Rivers state is the most important state currently being held by the PDP – it is the most populous and most wealthy. The popular belief is that the party needs Rivers firmly on its side to stand any chance in 2019.

Second, the Rivers governor, Nyesom Wike, knows the influential place he occupies in the party and he is not the best diplomat. When he feels like he is not having his way, he can pull the rug off everyone’s feet to prove a point.

Wike reportedly wants Tambuwal to emerge as the party’s candidate. So he is a very interested party in the matter. Some of the other aspirants, especially former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, are uncomfortable with the choice of Rivers as venue of the convention because it is Wike’s home turf, and thus favors Tambuwal.

Their opposition and request for the party to change venue led to Wike issuing a stern threat last week that “Nobody should dare Rivers State any longer. Enough is enough. PDP should know that we are not a punching bag. We are not a people you can use and push. We are not harlots. Whenever you want, you come. When you finish, you push us aside. We will retaliate at the appropriate time.”

All is well that ends well

With the party on edge over the issue, it may come as a relief to supporters that all now seems to be well. Yesterday, the convention planning committee visited Rivers state and inspected the stadium which would hold the primaries.

Same day, Governor Wike hosted Tambuwal – his preferred candidate – at the Government House. And today, Atiku is the governor’s guest. So it appears that things have been sorted. But until the party chooses a candidate on the 7th, you never know.

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