Tension has gripped the 13 presidential aspirants as vote sorting and counting begins on Sunday at the 2018 elective national convention of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Some of the candidates who are currently at Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt, the venue of the convention, included former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Sokoto governor Aminu Tambuwal.
The party accredited 3,274 delegates who voted to pick a presidential candidate.
The delegates come from the 36 states and federal capital territory (FCT).
The vote count is being closely monitored by the 13 aspirants and their agents.
The PDP chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, had earlier enumerated the party’s ‘success stories’ since 2015, and declared that it has graduated from being an opposition into a ‘ruling party in-waiting’.
Secondus, who expressed pleasure in welcoming members from all over Nigeria to Port Harcourt, said that the subject of this year’s national convention was: “Nigerians Take Back Your Country’’.
The party boss also boasted that “today PDP is now in control of the leadership of the National Assembly, adding that “the convention is a crucial stage in PDP’s “ unstoppable march to regain power’’.
He said that the selection of aspirants for the convention was done through Indirect Primaries, adding that the convention would be orderly, fair and transparent.
He said the party was determined to organise a convention that would remain a reference point for other parties.
He also recalled that the party gathered in Jos, Plateau, about 20 years ago for a similar convention to herald a new democracy in Nigeria.
Secondus said the party started the Contributory Pension Scheme and reformed the Electoral Process, among others.
Secondus, who said the party members had indeed learnt their lessons’, added that the PDP had “graduated from an opposition party in 2015 to a ruling party in waiting’’ in 2018.
He also assured that the party would ensure Nigeria’s unity, secure Nigerians, educate our youths, reduce poverty, return Nigeria to the path of economic growth and run an inclusive government if it wins the presidential poll in 2019.
“The choice you make today will go a long way to rescue our nation from the APC governance,’’ he said.