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PDP Presidential Primaries: Police To Deploy Anti-Terrorist Squad

Delegate lobbying shifts to hotels ||  Aminu Wali chairs screening Panel  ||  Determined  to  ensure security in  Abuja as the ruling  Peoples  Democratic  Party (PDP) holds its special  national  convention,  the  Nigeria  Police  Force will  deploy  its  anti-terrorist  squad  to  the  Eagle  Square,  venue  of  the convention  where  the  party’s  presidential  candidate  for  this  April  poll will  emerge.

The  build-up  to  the  presidential  primaries,  LEADERSHIP  SUNDAY  checks  revealed,  have  reached  a  dizzying  height,  with  President  Goodluck  Jonathan and  former  vice-president  Atiku  Abubakar  as  the  major  contenders.

Besides  the  security  alert,  LEADERSHIP  SUNDAY  checks  in  hotels  in the  Federal  Capital  Territory  also  revealed  that  all  accommodation  have  been  booked  in  advance  by  aides  to  the  two  contestants.  President  Jonathan’s aides are believed to have booked more  reservations.

The  Federal  Capital  Territory  chapter  of  the Nigeria  Police,  it  was  also  learnt,  would  be  beefed  up  by officers to be  drawn from different states surrounding the FCT. It  was  learnt  that  the  officers  have  arrived  the  territory’s  command and are awaiting instructions on operation modalities for the congress which is scheduled to take place on Thursday.

The police public relations officer, Mr. Jimoh Moshood, who confirmed that the officers were drawn from other states to complement officers and men of the command, however, could not give the number of those to be deployed for the event. According to him, it is rather early to determine the number of policemen that would be deployed for the PDP congress, as most of the officers of the command have been deployed for other political activities.

The spokesperson, however, said that the operation modality which is already on ground would be made known to the police hierarchy in the command at its weekly briefing by the commissioner of police, Mr. Haruna John, tomorrow.

The number of officers to be deployed as well as routes through which traffic may be diverted would also be disclosed at the briefing, Moshood said. He explained that the FCT police was routinely sweeping major facilities and structures in the territory, including hotels, not just for the rally but to ensure the security of life and property of both residents and visitors to the FCT before, during and after the elections.

With only four days  to  the PDP convention, all  the  hotels  in  the  FCT  have been  fully  booked  as the fight for the hearts of the delegates has shifted to hotel rooms. Contrary to earlier reports that Atiku’s camp had played a fast one by booking virtually all the choice hotels in Abuja in preparation for the primaries, checks revealed otherwise. Jonathan’s camp, LEADERSHIP SUNDAY investigations exclusively revealed, has commandeered virtually all the decent hotels and gone ahead to secure reservations in the hotels – all within convenient proximity to the Eagle Square, venue of the presidential primaries.

A visit to Abuja Sheraton Hotel confirmed the plot. A senior reservation officer on night duty who pleaded to be anonymous said, “I can’t tell you much, but a protocol officer was here from The Presidency and booked all the available rooms. The only rooms available are the ones that have been previously booked. Management has instructed us to stop any other reservation that does not come from the aide. The protocol is still insisting on reserving more rooms.”

From the Abuja Sheraton, Transcorp Hilton to Nanet suites and Nicon Luxury, our checks revealed that, in terms of accommodation arrangement, Jonathan’s plans for delegates remain without a crack. “The man who came here to reserve the hotel rooms was very particular on the catering and other sundry hospitality arrangement. These guys are sparing nothing to spoil these visiting delegates. He told me emphatically that money was not an issue,” a source at Nanet Suites said.

Other lower-class hotels are also benefiting from the unprecedented patronage.

Delegates are the major deciding factors in terms of party primaries – at least when it comes to choosing candidates. They have come under stiff criticism for selling their votes to candidates offering the largest sums. Politicians are similarly willing to suborn delegates to tilt their votes in their favour.

Before now, the talk was rife that Atiku’s camp had booked all the hotels, allegedly prompting The Presidency to instruct FCT minister Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed to investigate the scheme.

Checks also revealed that many hotels in neighbouring states like Nasarawa, Kogi and Niger states have been fully booked ahead of the primaries.

Persons expected at the convention as delegates include the national chairman of the party, members of the National Executive Committee (NEC), members of the Zonal Working Committee, and state party chairmen and secretaries including those of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.

Other delegates are all women and youth leaders, including those of the FCT; all party chairmen of the local government areas, and one national delegate elected from the local government area congress.

Meanwhile, the  National  Working  Committee  of  the party  last  night  named  former  ambassador  Aminu  Wali  as  the  chairman  of  its  Presidential  Screening  Panel.

Also,  the  party  in  a  statement  signed  by  the  National  Organising  Secretary,  Prince  Uche  Secondus  named  former  Defence  Minister,  Alhaji  Shettima  Mustapha  as  the  chairman  of  its  Special  National convention  panel.

Both  panels,  according  to  the  statement  would  be  inaugurated  on  Monday  by  the  national  chairman,  Dr.  Okwesilieze  Nwodo  in  Abuja.

The 10 –member Presidential  Screening  Panel  has  Mr.  Sylvester  Okonkwo  as  the  secretary,  while  former  Transport  minister  and  one-time  national  secretary  of  the  party,  Chief  Ojo  Maduekwe  will  serve  as  the  secretary  of  the  special  national  convention  panel.

-Punch

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Posted by on Jan 8 2011. Filed under Party Politics, Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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