• Calls for free, fair governorship poll
Governors and leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday expressed readiness to win both Saturday’s Anambra State governorship and 2019 general elections.
Following a five-hour closed-door meeting at Government House, Enugu, they agreed a 2019 win would relaunch the PDP into prominence.
The party also said it would conduct a creditable convention to elect national officers with a view to deepening democracy in the country, even as it tasked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure the Anambra poll was free and fair.
The meeting was chaired by the chairman, PDP Governors’ Forum and governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, and was attended by Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
Also in attendance were 10 of the 11 governors produced by the party: Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Ben Ayade (Cross River), Emmanuel Udom (Akwaibom), Okezie Ikpazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Darius Ishiaku (Taraba), Ibrahim Dakwambo (Gombe) and Ebonyi deputy governor, Kelechi Igwe, who represented Governor David Umahi.
Others included caretaker committee national chairman, Ahmed Makarafi, national secretary, Ben Obi, Sule Lamido, Otumba Gbenga Daniel, Raymond Dokpesi, Uche Secondus, Adolphus Wabara, Kema Chikwe, Tom Ikimi, Gabriel Suswan, Peter Obi, Josephine Anenih, Chief Bode George, Tunde Adeniran, Taoheed Adedoja, Jimi Agbaje, and Godswill Akpabio.
“We have agreed, believing that we have the quality to take over Anambra State. And I believe that our people in Anambra have all fared well and they deserve victory on Saturday.
“I want to use this opportunity to ask that the election is credible, not only credible but seen to be credible. We want to believe that Nigeria is of age to do elections that are acceptable internationally, and we want to believe that we will take the day, if they play accordingly,” said Fayose.
It was not clear how the party intended to pursue and win the presidential election, given the position of some of its governors that they would support President Buhari if he seeks re-election.
A source however said: “We don’t want to overstretch ourselves with the issue, since our national convention is at hand. Every focus now is what can be done to ensure that we get the right leadership at the national level of the party. When that is done, attention will be focused on the 2019 presidential election. We are following a template that will strengthen the party and ensure it returns to power.”
Addressing journalists shortly after the meeting that ended at midnight, Fayose said the party met with all aspirants for the national chairmanship position, stressing that areas of disagreement among them had been resolved.
He said: “We took time off to meet with the chairmanship aspirants, believing that we want to have a convention that all political parties in Nigeria will emulate; a convention that will represent that word democracy and serve as template for other parties. We have responsible people vying for the office of the PDP chairman nationally and the preaching is PDP first. And we are leaving Enugu today believing that this PDP will take over power in 2019. Our PDP aspirants have agreed to work together with whoever emerges as chairman of the party. He will be supported by us.”