Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar will visit the national headquarters of the Peoples Democratic Party, Abuja, on Tuesday (today), The PUNCH learnt on Monday night.
His visit is coming two days after he returned to the party which he left in 2014.
The Convention Planning Committee of the party, set up to organise the elective national convention coming up on Saturday in Abuja, has banned the display of campaign posters of any presidential aspirants at the Eagle Square venue of the convention.
The committee, headed by the Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, also barred the supporters of the presidential contenders from the venue on Saturday.
Atiku had resigned his membership of the All Progressives Congress about a week ago, claiming that the ruling party had deviated from its promises to Nigeria.
Besides, he accused the leadership of the party of not carrying its members along in decision-making.
Investigations by our correspondent showed that members of the National Caretaker Committee of the PDP, led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, had been informed of Atiku’s visit.
Authoritative sources said the former vice-president requested to meet with the caretaker committee in order to ensure his return to the party was without hitches.
Atiku was said to have written a letter to Makarfi, requesting the visit.
Investigations by our correspondent in Abuja on Monday further showed that the visit would come up at noon.
The Publicity Secretary of the caretaker committee, Mr. Dayo Adeyeye, confirmed the planned visit by Atiku in an interview with The PUNCH.
“It is true. We are expecting him on Tuesday, which is tomorrow (today). It is also an indication that his coming is real and that he means business. We are actually expecting him by noon tomorrow,” he added.
It was also gathered that his visit would enable him to know his status if he would be able to attend the party’s national convention slated for Saturday in Abuja.
As a former Vice-President, the constitution of the party allows him to attend the convention.
However, since he has defected to the APC with other notable politicians, Atiku may require a waiver from the national leadership of the party before he could attend the convention as a delegate.
A member of the National Working Committee of the party told our correspondent that the issue of waiver was being looked into.
The source said, “We are glad he has returned to the party which gave him the opportunity to vie for positions both as a governor and as a vice-president.
“We also know he contributed in no small way to our defeat during the 2015 presidential election.
“All that are, however, not necessary now. What we want are people who can help us win elections and Atiku is one of them. We are happy about that.”
Meanwhile, the PDP has said there is no concession for the former APC presidential aspirant or any other persons coming in to the party.
Makarfi stated this during the inauguration of the party Convention Planning Committee.
He explained that Atiku, however, did not seek any concession or special terms before returning to the party, adding that the former Vice-President returned voluntarily to the party.
Makarfi added, “The Waziri Adamawa did not seek any special concession, any special terms; he joined on his own terms and decision.
“The party did not extend any special concession to him. I don’t think it will extend any special concession to anybody other than what is due to him and what will be due to anybody of his status that will be coming into the party. It is only right that you accord such people such recognition and status they deserve.”
Explaining further on the position of the party on Atiku’s return, the caretaker committee chairman stated, “I read in some papers as if the party made a deal to concede something to him; this is far from the truth.
“He never asked for anything and we never offered anything. Whatever aspiration he or anybody coming to PDP may have, they will be free to pursue them.
“PDP men and women are free to pursue whatever aspirations they have. The party will provide a level playing field for everybody to exercise their right to give their mandate to whoever they want to give it to.”
The chairman of the Convention Planning Committee, who is also the Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, gave an assurance that the “electoral process will be free, fair and credible.”
He said the Eagle Square, where the event would hold, had been secured.
Okowa stated, “The venue of the convention is the Eagle Square. It has been secured and we have had a lot of discussions concerning the need for accreditation, securing the venue and also the electoral process.
“We are very confident that a lot is being put in place and between now and Friday, we would have been able to achieve every other thing that we need to do to deliver a credible convention.
“We need to make this announcement to all our party members and well-wishers that the convention is going to be for delegates and we are expecting a little less than 3,000. Delegates have been properly accredited by the accreditation committee.
“Our party members that are going to come are welcome to Abuja but they will not be allowed to come to the Eagle Square and this is because we want to be sure that we are in a position to deliver a credible elective convention.
“Movement will have to be restricted to some important personalities who ordinarily will love to be around.”
Okowa said his committee was trying to put up these measures in order to avoid overcrowding at the venue.
The Delta State governor warned against display of banners of those aspiring to contest the presidential ticket of the party.
He added, “I want to urge aspirants to the various positions to please keep their campaigners away from the convention venue and we believe all campaigns would have stopped by Friday.
“I will not expect any aspirant, especially presidential aspirants, to bring their campaign posters, campaigners, men or women, to the venue because it will not be allowed. And we want to appeal to all of them campaigning to desist from doing that.
“For those who want to campaign for future elections, possibly the presidential aspirants, this convention is not the place to display campaign posters or to display their intentions.
“I believe there will be an appropriate convention for that. I want to urge them to cooperate with us as a committee.”
Also speaking on the occasion, the chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Senator Walid Jibrin, said the board was ready to partner the members of the NWC, governors forum and all other stakeholders in the party to ensure the success of the national convention.
He urged the party members to desist from ány act that he said might affect the convention negatively.
On the speculation that some BoT members are sponsoring a particular chairmanship candidate, Senator Jibrin declared that the “BoT has no hidden agenda and we have no special candidate.”