Barring any dramatic twist, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has concluded plans to hold its Presidential convention for the 2023 poll in May.
The convention according to multiple credible sources may hold on May 28 and 29, 2022.
Addressing newsmen at the end of the 95th NEC meeting of the party yesterday, the national publicity secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba said sufficient preparations have been made by the party for the 2023 general elections by the PDP.
In a communique issued at the end of the meeting, the party approved the sum of N35m and N5m for Presidential Nomination and Expression of Interest forms respectively.
Similarly, the governorship Nomination Form is pegged at N20m while the Expression of interest form is fixed for N1m.
Others include State House of Assembly -Expression of Interest -N100,000,
Nomination Form N500,000; House of Representatives- Expression of Interest-N500,000, Nomination Form N2m; Senate-Expression of Interest -N500,000, Nomination Form- N3m.
NEC also approved the PDP Electoral Guidelines for the conduct of primary elections as well as the timetable and schedule of activities of the PDP for the 2023 general elections.
Meanwhile, NEC approved a 50 per cent reduction in nomination fees for youths aged 25 to 30 years for various elective positions.
NEC also approved the commencement of sale of Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms from Wednesday (today) with the exercise expected to last until April 1.
On zoning, NEC also approved the establishment of a 37-member committee to make recommendations for the zoning of various elective positions for the 2023 general elections including the Presidential ticket. According to Olugunagba, the committee has two weeks to submit its recommendations.
Addressing NEC, PDP national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu called on party leaders and stakeholders to forge a united front that will enable the party win elections beginning with the Osun and Ekiti states governorship elections.
He said: “The National Working Committee under my leadership is calling on all our leaders and members of our party, not just in Ekiti and Osun, but all the over the country to join us in fighting those elections because they are winnable if we put aside our differences and make sure that we work as a team to win those elections.
“These elections are important for several reasons. First of all, they will give confidence back to our members.
Secondly, they will signal to Nigerians that the PDP is determined to take power in 2023.
We can take power in 2023 if we lose elections in the state chapters or constituencies.
“It is important we unify the party. If we unify the party, we will win the election at the state chapters. If we win elections in the state chapters collectively, we will be able to put those votes together and definitely win the Presidential election.
“We are out not just to win Presidential election but to increase our membership in the various Houses of Assembly in the states and the number of governors in the country and take control of the National Assembly.
“That is the only way the President will be comfortable to do his work. We will reunite the country and rebuild it for the wards, through the local governments, states and federal level a restored dignity of Nigeria as a people and respect which we usually enjoy in the international community.”
That said, Ayu enjoined party members to put aside their differences and work collectively for the success of the party.
In his goodwill message, House Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu said the general consensus across the country is that PDP is the party to beat in 2023.
“This is because having exposed the APC; the harbinger of hardship, conceived in deception and lust for power; nurtured in arrogance and impunity; sustained in corruption, violence and suppression, Nigerians have returned to the PDP, a party of selfless and dependable statesmen and women, whose interest is only in the well-being and development of our nation.”
He continued: “Brothers and sisters, my heart bleeds. As I address you today, millions of Nigerian families are mourning. Many more are starving. At every turn are frightening tales of deaths, ritual killings, kidnapping, banditry, missing persons, strange diseases, unemployment, divorces, acute poverty and hardship with citizens now resorting to suicide and slavery mission abroad as options to living under the APC administration.
“The arrogant manner with which APC government treats Nigerians is unbearable and must be stopped. The APC has developed the culture of walking out on Nigerians on issues that border on their welfare and safety.
“This is why the Minister for Education can arrogantly walk out on Nigerian students who went to plead for his intervention in the ongoing strike by lecturers in public universities in the country. As we speak, hundreds of Nigerian students are still left behind in war-torn Ukraine. What a heartless administration!
“The recent disablement of a standard gauge train midway from Ibadan to Lagos due to alleged insufficient diesel underscores the carelessness and incompetence of the APC administration to manage critical sectors of our national life.
“Our healthcare system is in shambles. President Buhari, whose administration has wrecked our healthcare institutions, is constantly on medical trips in London with no concern for millions of our compatriots who cannot afford medical treatment abroad.
“The failure of the APC government to address the lingering petrol crisis as well as the fuel challenges in the aviation industry, which is crippling economic and social activities, underscores its insensitivity towards Nigerians. As we speak our nation facing the risk of shut down of airline operations due to the horrendous cost of aviation fuel.
“Leaders of our party, Nigerians are asphyxiating under the APC and they look up to the PDP for solution. As we make decisions today and in the coming days, we must jettison all parochial interests and set our eyes on the bigger picture. I urge all aspirants to rein in their supporters and guide their utterances. We must remain united so that Nigerians can march with us to take over governance in 2023.
“The recent court judgement that removed the governor, deputy governor and 17 members of the Ebonyi House of Assembly reinforces the fact that the PDP is intact. On the other hand, the APC has become factionalized and their members can leave because the prescribed requirements for defecting as provided in S68(1)(g) are present in the APC,” he added.