EMERGING from its meeting in Abuja, on Saturday, the northern Caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has directed northern delegates to converge in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, for the national convention of the party slated for August 17, 2016.
This followed an attempt by claimant to office of the national chairman, Senator Ali Sheriff to secure the cancellation of the convention as part of his demands for end the lingering leadership crisis in the party.
The meeting presided over by Prof. Jerry Gana, Senator Ibrahim Mantu and Ambassador Aminu Wali, resolved that the convention must hold especially given that assurances on the security situation in Rivers State have been provided by Governor Nyesom Wike.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, Gana said the party members could not be intimidated by what was being said about the convention as they were ready to participate in full.
He said it was not possible to cancel the exercise as demanded by Sheriff as that would undermine the power of the party’s national convention as the supreme organ of the party.
Gana added: “The national convention of the PDP scheduled for the 17th of August will hold. I hereby encourage all our delegates from the Northern part of Nigeria to be in Port Harcourt. In fact, our next meeting will be in Port before the convention begins.
“We want to assure you that by the grace of God, adequate arrangement will be made for security. You will travel safely, you will arrive safely, you will do the convention safely and you will return safely.
“We are never intimidated by the kind of things people are talking. We are going to Port Harcourt. This party needs to be solid so that we have national officers that will direct the affairs of this party.”
Also speaking Mantu explained why there had been apprehension concerning the conduct of the convention, saying that it was to give room to complete the ongoing reconciliation efforts.
He revealed that there was also skepticism because most committees were not allowed to their work during the May 21, 2016 national convention in Port Harcourt.
Mantu noted that the concerns have now been addressed.
He stated that it was now clear that the convention has to go on as scheduled.
According to him, “I will say without due apologise that I have been at the forefront of those who are skeptical about the possibility of holding the convention on the 17th in Port Harcourt because the ongoing reconciliation, because we thought perhaps, the reconciliation will come up with something new.
“But it is now clear that the convention will by the grace of God take place on the 17th and in Port Harcourt.
“But it is very important for us to understand why some people were skeptical about the convention taking place in Port Harcourt.
“Part of the reasons why we suddenly agreed yesterday (Friday) was the fact that this skepticism was addressed by the governor of Rivers State who is the chairman of the convention committee.
“The fears of many people was that there is insecurity in Port Harcourt and secondly, what happened in the last convention most of the committees were not allowed to do their jobs and the rest of them.
“We brought this out yesterday and we spoke frankly.”