Members of the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party led by its National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, met in Abuja on Saturday, but failed to pick a date for the commencement of the sale of nomination and expression of interest forms to its members who are interested in contesting any elective position in 2019.
The meeting, which started early but ended late in the evening, was said to have deferred the date for the selling of forms for “tactical reasons.”
The meeting, which was presided over by Secondus, was said to have discussed political implications of rolling out nomination forms and fixing of dates for primaries ahead of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, had told our correspondent on Friday evening that the Saturday meeting would take a decision on when the party would start selling the forms.
However, sources at the meeting said that the NWC members felt that it would be politically naive for the party to start selling forms ahead of the APC.
Apart from that, it was also gathered that the meeting felt that President Muhammadu Buhari could still sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, which was sent to him by the National Assembly for assent.
Sources at the meeting said that if the President signs the bill, it could alter many things in the party’s programme for the election.
One of the sources at the meeting said, “Yes, we were supposed to meet and take a decision on the sale of our forms and other things that would precede the conduct of our primaries.
“But we have to also know that we are fighting a vicious government and party. We have to be tactical about our programmes. We want to wait and see what the APC has in stock before releasing our own joker.
“We know that President Muhammadu Buhari will be its sole presidential candidate, but let us see their programmes first. We want to know their programmes for other positions as well.”
Ologbondiyan confirmed the decision of the NWC not to release the timetable for the sale of the nomination and expression of interest forms “on technical grounds” in an interview with our correspondent.
He said, “We appreciate the pressure and the concern of our members and Nigerians concerning the release of the dates for the sale and submission of the forms.
“However, we want to appeal to them to be patient with us. We are waiting based on technical grounds. In any case, the ruling party has yet to even commence the sale of its own forms.
“Let our members wait for us. We will soon make an announcement on that. We are just being tactical.
“Apart from that, we also expect the President to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, which the National Assembly passed to check manipulations in the 2019 general elections.
“We know that the amendment bill was in the interest of Nigerians. But unfortunately, President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress are quivering because the draft law effectively checks all their machinations, which they have been deploying in rigging past elections and intend to use in the 2019 general elections.”