Primaries: PDP holds emergency meeting amid perceived ambush by INEC, APC over deadline extension
Amid suspected collusion between All Progressives Congress and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Peoples Democratic Party has called an emergency meeting of its national working committee official.
According to Peoples Gazette, the meeting deliberated on issues brought to the fore by latest developments on the political arena especially as it regards extension of deadline for presidential primary by INEC.
“We were supposed to have our convention a day apart, but this latest move could give APC a window to shift its convention by additional days just to properly strategise against whoever emerged as flag-bearer at our convention.” the media outlet quoted a source in the PDP to have said.
The opposition party also mulled the idea of postponing its convention scheduled for Saturday at the meeting.
The NWC meeting took place on Friday in Abuja.
Recall that INEC had, in a statement Friday afternoon, said it extended the deadline following pleas by an umbrella body of political parties to give additional time for primaries due to outstanding issues arising from the exercise nationwide.
The electoral umpire subsequently shifted primaries’ deadline from June 3 to June 9.
The decision has put a question mark on the neutrality of INEC, as many opined that the decision was to ambush PDP and give undue advantage to the APC, others averred that the commission has shown that it is being subjected to the whims and impulses of the ruling party.
The PDP, sensing a collusion between APC and INEC, called an emergency meeting late on Friday night to deliberate on INEC’s decision and what its portends for the party and the ruling APC.
“We have strong reasons to believe that the extension was announced by INEC today to allow the APC properly digest the outcome of PDP’s convention and pick its candidate accordingly,” a PDP official with information about the meeting’s agenda told Peoples Gazette by telephone Friday night. “We were supposed to have our convention a day apart, but this latest move could give APC a window to shift its convention by additional days just to properly strategise against whoever emerged as flag-bearer at our convention.”
The PDP had scheduled its presidential primary for May 28-29; while the APC picked May 29-30, and both parties admitted the one-day gap won’t be enough for any outward manoeuvre and shenanigans on the part of the ruling party.
Amongst critical decisions, the APC has been grappling with involved whether or not the party would allow all its aspirants take part in the exercise or cancel its presidential primary altogether for a consensus candidate.
But postponing the election could come at a steep logistical price for the opposition party, its members feared. For one, aspirants and delegates have already converged on the capital ahead of the primary this weekend.
“Postponement will be a very difficult pill to swallow at this point,” party member Wale Odulana told The Gazette. “We arrived on Wednesday and we planned everything towards this weekend.”