Everything is set for the Special National Convention of Nigeria’s main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Weeks of preparations that have involved controversy, meetings, threats, lobbying, promises, even defections, have culminated in the day when elected delegates will choose a candidate to fly the party flag in the 2023 presidential election.
Party delegates, officials, journalists and other accredited participants gather at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja, the venue for the primary.
Convention organizing committee chairman David Mark said preparations for the primary are underway and the party expects a smooth, transparent and credible convention.
About 811 elected delegates from across the country are expected to vote at the convention where they will choose from a slate of 14 contenders for the race.
Initially, 17 candidates bought the party’s nomination form at 40 million naira each, but two – Cosmas Ndukwe, a former lawmaker, and Nwachukwu Anakwenze, a US-based doctor – were disqualified by the selection committee .
Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra State and leading candidate for the post, resigned from his PDP membership on Tuesday.
The other 14 cleared aspirants have since met with delegates, governors and party leaders across the country.
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They are Tariela Oliver, the only woman among them; Governors Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto, Bala Mohammed of Bauchi and Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom; former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and investment banker Mohammed Hayatu-Deen.
Others are two former Senate presidents, Bukola Saraki and Pius Anyim; former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose; and an editor, Dele Momodu. Also in the race, a pharmacist, Sam Ohabunwa; Charles Ugwu and Chikwendu Kalu.
The aspirants are drawn from Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones, reflecting the party’s decision to drop zoning and open the primary.
PREMIUM TIMES is on the ground at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja, venue of the convention to bring you live updates from the event.
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