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The tenure of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of  Peoples Democratic Party, PDP was extended by 12 months, yesterday, after security operatives stopped the party from proceeding with its convention in Port Harcourt. The convention   was to produce a new leadership for the party.                                                 

 L-R: Dr Olusegun Mimiko, Ondo State Governor; Sen Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Senate President, and Ibrahim Hassan Damkwabo, Gombe State Governor during the PDP National Convention in Port Harcourt, Wednesday. Photo: Nwankpa Chijioke

 The decision of the Police and the Department of State Services, DSS, to heed the court order by a Federal High Court in Abuja, stopping the convention and discarding the judgment of a Port-Harcourt-based Federal High Court that directed the police and DSS to monitor the convention, immediately raised strong condemnation from PDP leaders.

 Even before the threats from the security agencies were fully manifested in the sealing off of the Sharks Stadium, discord within the party had also risen to put the prospects of a peaceful convention at bay. 

Multiple sources confirmed that three of the frontline chairmanship candidates, including media mogul, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi; former Education Minister, Prof Tunde Adeniran, and erstwhile deputy national chairman, Chief Bode George, had agreed to walkout of the convention on account of alleged mutilation of the delegates list by the governors who were allegedly backing the aspiration of Mr. Jimi Agbaje for the top post.

 Plans by the trio to announce their withdrawal at a joint press conference scheduled for, yesterday morning, at the Presidential Hotel were immediately aborted, following indications that the convention would not hold.

 Dokpesi, who had got the backing of the Northern chapters, following the truncation of the convention, immediately left Port-Harcourt for Abuja as the face-off with the security men unfolded. 

Meanwhile, a stir was caused after Governor Ayodele Fayose was locked inside the old Presidential Lodge of Rivers State Government House by what he claimed was an Armoured Personnel Carrier, APC.

 Following the lifting of the siege, the governor fumed at the APC administration, accusing it of being intolerant and willing to use state power to crush the opposition. 

Indications of something untoward first emerged sometime around 2:30 a.m. yesterday, when heavily armed policemen, in conjunction with plain clothed security men, suspected to be operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS, and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, fenced off the venue of the convention.

 Explaining the police action, the Police Commissioner, Mr Francis Odesanya, told newsmen that he merely complied with a court order to provide security around the venue, stressing that his men did not seal up the place. 

“We did not seal up the place, we are only providing security,” he said.

 Asked whether he was obeying the Abuja or the Port Harcourt court ruling, the  commissioner rebuffed the questions as he quipped, “it is not my duty to interpret court order,” and directed further enquiries on the development to Force Headquarters.

 Police patrol vehicles were used to block all roads leading to the stadium.  Motorists were politely told to turn away from all roads leading to the stadium.

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