Traders, hawkers make brisk business at PDP convention

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By Donald Iorchir

In spite of tight security around Eagle Square, venue of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national convention, petty traders, hawkers of PDP souvenirs and praise singers from different states turned the Saturday political gathering into a carnival, making brisk business.
The anxious artisans created a chaotic situation and over-stretched the capacity of security personnel deployed to ensure proper maintenance of peace and security at the national convention venue.
Directives by Convention Planning Committee Chairman, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa and National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, that persons without proper accreditation tags should not be allowed into the venue was blatantly disobeyed as supporters of the more than 2,800 delegates forced their way to the square.
Overwhelmed, the exasperated security officials abandoned the gate and sought shelter from the sun inside, especially when supporters of Alhaji Sule Lamido danced in large numbers and pressed themselves at the gate, demanding free access even as they shouted at the top of their voices in Hausa language: “Nigeria, sai Lamido,” meaning Sule Lamido is the best president for Nigeria.
Voting started late in the afternoon after the opening ceremonies which commenced when the chairman of the National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, declared the event open.
Earlier, former President Goodluck Jonathan, who sent in goodwill messages to members of the party, expressed optimism that the convention would produce positive outcomes to help “the party regain its pride of place in the affairs of the nation.”
In the message signed by his media adviser, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, the former President also reiterated that he had no preferred candidate, saying he would work with those that would emerge as new leaders, in the interest of the party and nation.
“As the father of the party, ex-President Jonathan does not have preferred candidates for any of the positions and he is prepared to work with those that will emerge as members of the new NWC, to ensure that the party regains its pride of place in the affairs of the nation,” the message said.


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