With the presidential, governorship and National Assembly primaries of both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) close by, the intense intrigues and political maneuverings by the parties have pushed the opposition PDP away from the Eagle Square to the MKO Abiola Stadium on the outskirts of the Abuja City Centre. The PDP presidential primary is scheduled for May 28.
It was learnt that the ruling party used the influence of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Muhammed Musa Bello, to quickly reserve the Eagles Square for its presidential primary scheduled to hold between May 30 and June 1. The PDP, which had slated its presidential primary to end a day earlier on May 29, was stopped from holding it at the Eagle Square.
The PDP Convention Planning Committee, led by former Senate President, David Mark, on Tuesday, visited the MKO Abiola Stadium to assess facilities at the Velodrome of the stadium, proposed venue of the convention.
And for the second time since it first announced its timetable for primaries in March, the PDP has shifted the date for its governorship primary to next Wednesday, May 25.
According to the new timetable, the primary election for state Houses of Assembly will hold on Saturday, May 21, just as the one for House of Representatives is scheduled for Sunday, May 22. The primary for Senate will hold on Monday, May 23.
A source at the PDP national secretariat disclosed yesterday, that the shift was due to delay in conclusion of delegates’ election in many states, as the indirect primaries, which will be adopted, is a delegates’ election.
According to the source, the struggle to prevent the ruling APC from wooing its members who might lose out during its primaries has made the major opposition party to keep shifting its primaries.
“You know that politics is a continuous game of number. So, no party will be stupid to play into the hands of its opponents by playing all its card first. You can’t blame the PDP for shifting dates of its primaries,” the source said.
It was further gathered that disputes over the final list of delegates and reconciliation efforts were central to the decision to shift the PDP primaries. It was also learnt that the party is weighing its options with regards to its desire to build consensus among aspirants.
A top-ranking member of the party leadership who spoke in confidence said: “This is politics, we need to reduce friction as much as possible, we intend to build consensus so that the primaries and the national convention will be as rancour-free as possible. We are mindful of happenings in the other party and we intend to put our house in order before going into the convention.”
Under the former timetable, primaries for the State Houses of Assembly was to hold today, May 18, Senatorial, May 20 and governorship May 23. Only the presidential primary was unchanged for May 28 to 29.
However, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party in a letter dated May 16, which was addressed to the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, announced an extension.