Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar

Former vice-president and People’s Democratic Party, PDP, presidential aspirant, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has completed arrangements for a victory party as he  expects to defeat his main challenger, President Goodluck Jonathan, at the party’s primary today, his campaign office has said.

Atiku’s men believe that President Jonathan will eventually be disqualified even if he emerges winner of the primary, as a High Court in Abuja has ruled that  the zoning arrangement within the PDP must be respected.

The Directorate of Media and Public Affairs of Turaki Vanguard, Atiku’s campaign team, said in a statement that Atiku will emerge as the PDP flag bearer  after today’s primary or after a court ruling, adding that President Jonathan will go back to the university to teach.

Consequently, Atiku’s team said, a seven-man victory party celebration planning committee has been set up.

“Considering the expected victory of Atiku Abubakar at the 13 January 2011 presidential primary of PDP, the National Working Committee of Turaki Vanguard at  an emergency meeting held at Madugu Hotels, Abuja, on 11 January 2011, set up a seven-man Victory Party Celebration Planning Committee with Chief Raymond  Wodi, the Deputy National Coordinator South, as Chairman.

“Other members include, Alhaji Saidu Adamu, the National Treasurer, Barrister Henry Iyanya the National Legal Adviser, National Women Leader, Hajiya Hassana  Abubakar, Alh. Zanna Galamdi, the North East Zonal Coordinator, Chief Eze C Eze, the National Publicity Secretary, and Chief Mrs. Oyinye Modze, the National  Deputy Secretary.”

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Atiku’s men said that for President Jonathan to contest in today’s primary is a waste of time.

Inaugurating the victory planning committee, the National Coordinator of Turaki Vanguard, Chief Hon. Olademiji Fabiyi, said: “If Mr. Justice Ishaq Bello’s  ruling on the case brought before him by Prof. Gidado Maxwell and others to stop President Jonathan from contesting the PDP primaries is anything to go by,  then President Jonathan has no reason to contest the PDP primary and if he does, it will only amount to an exercise in futility as he will later be  disqualified.

Meanwhile, the city of Abuja is agog as over 5000 delegates of Peoples Democratic Party have besieged the city for the National Convention of the party where  the flag bearer of the party in the 2011 presidential elections will be chosen later today.

Accreditation of candidates is going on at two venues- International Conference Centre and Women Development Centre both located at the Central Business  District of Abuja.

P.M.NEWS gathered that the two main contenders for the presidential election ticket,  President Goodluck Jonathan and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar,  are in a last minute rush to get the support of the delegates.

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It was gathered that both camps have booked hotels, expecting to cash in on delegates who are desperate for accommodation.

Contrary to the directive of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, the Atiku Campaign Organisation has continued to run adverts on radio and television to  appeal to the delegates for their votes.

The Campaign Organisation described the NBC directive as “one prank by the Goodluck/Sambo Campaign Organisation to stem the momentum of the Atiku Campaign  Organisation”. As such, the Campaign Organisation has continued to run adverts on the radio and television stations up till this morning.

Already, the Eagle Square venue of the event has been cordoned off, as Hafiz Ringim, the Inspector General of Police had earlier told journalists yesterday  that security will be tight. Traffic has also been diverted from roads leading to and from Eagle Square and this has created a heavy traffic snarl in the  city.

Ringim has also said that security aides of VIPs will not be allowed to carry arms, ammunition, or hand grenades into the venue of the primary.

He added that vehicles will also be barred about two kilometres to Eagles Square. The Police boss said areas around Eagle Square will be under heavy security  surveillance until the end of the Convention.

P.M.NEWS
observed this morning heavy deployment of security personnel made up of the police, fully armed and combat ready soldiers and officers of the State  Security Service with bomb detecting equipment at various junctions across the city.

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Also, P.M.NEWS people approaching the Eagle Square are thoroughly screened and only delegates with proper accreditation are allowed into the venue.

Also, bags of delegates are searched and frisked by the security personnel. Haruna John, the Police Commissioner for the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, was  seen by P.M.NEWS at Eagles Square as he was giving directives to his men.

In a related development, the Atiku Campaign Organisation is complaining about the manner of election to be adopted at the primary election.

The organisation said the method makes it easy to know which of the candidates a delegate voted for. Delegates are already trickling in into the venue of the  Convention as at the time of writing this story.

— Oluokun Ayorinde, Desmond Utomwen/Abuja & Simon Ateba