From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
There are indications that only 813 delegates would decide Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate at national convention scheduled for May 28 and 29.
So far, 15 aspirants, including former vice president Atiku Abubakar, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi, former Senate president, Bukola Saraki, Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, have been cleared to participate in the presidential primary scheduled for the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja.
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Others are Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Emmanuel Udom, former Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, Publisher of Ovation Magazine, Dele Momodu, former president, Manufacturing Association of Nigeria, Sam Ohuabunwa; investment banker, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen; Charles Ugwu; Chikwendu Kalu and Tareila Diana. Cosmas Ndukwe and Nwachukwu Anakwenze were not cleared to participate in the exercise.
The delegates consist of one national delegate from each of the 774 local government areas across the country, as well as one special delegate per state and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, selected from among persons living with disabilities.
This is as a result of the delay by President Muhammadu Buhari in assenting to the latest amendment to the Electoral Act 2022, which provides for inclusion of statutory delegates in the nomination of political parties’ candidates.
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The two chambers of the National Assembly had, a fortnight ago altered Section 84 (8) to include statutory delegates among those to nominate candidates for the 2023 polls in the different political parties.
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Article 33(1) of the PDP constitution had listed the national chairman, serving and former presidents and vice presidents who are members of the party; members of the National Assembly and former principal officers of the National Assembly, who are members of the party as well as serving and former governors and deputies, who are members of the party as statutory delegates to the national convention.
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Also, the statutory delegates include all gubernatorial candidates of the party and their deputies; serving and former members of Board of Trustees (BoT), who are still members of the party, elected members of the zonal working committee , and state working committee, all National Assembly candidates, all serving and former elected local government chairmen, who are members of the party, former members of the National Working Committee (NWC), who are still members of the party among others.
However, following delay by President Buhari to assent to the amendment, the PDP, in a statement by the National Organising Secretary, Umar Bature, said only elected delegates would participate in the nomination of all the party’s candidates.
A member of the PDP NWC, who confirmed to Daily Sun that the party would be relying on only the elected delegates to choose its presidential candidate, said their position is in line with the Electoral Act.
When Daily Sun sought to know what would happen if President Buhari signs the amendment to the Electoral Act before Friday, the party official said: “I can’t speak to that. I don’t have information on what can’t be done. I can’t speculate on that. I don’t like to answer ‘if’. Because ‘if’ has not happened,” he said.
Daily Sun gathered that various presidential aspirants are intensifying consultations ahead of the PDP national convention.