Posted by News Express | 6 February 2022 | 564 times
At the moment, there is unease in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the zoning of the opposition party’s 2023 presidential ticket.
In recent times, there have been concerns in the polity over which part of the country will produce the 2023 PDP presidential candidate, with party stalwarts from the different geo-political zones laying claim to the ticket.
However, the PDP national leadership is yet to take a decision on the issue. Nevertheless, party leaders had at different fora given conflicting opinions over the zoning of the opposition’s party presidential ticket for the next general election.
A top source at the PDP national secretariat, in Abuja, told Sunday Sun, that party’s leadership is considering setting up a panel to decide the issue of zoning of elective offices in the 2023 polls.
Sunday Sun gathered that the issue of zoning of the 2023 PDP presidential ticket is likely to dominate discourse at the party’s NEC, which sources said might hold within the next three weeks.
It was further gathered that the PDP would be exploring three options – consensus, throwing the contest open to all qualified persons or zoning to either the Southeast or the Northeast.
The source stated that “you know PDP going to election without the Southeast will be very suicidal. But in a worse case scenario, PDP will ask everybody to go and contest.”
He added “everybody is interested on how to win election. This has nothing to do with morality. Even the Igbo man in PDP wants PDP to win the election. Because, it is clear for the people of the Southeast that the zone has no stake in the APC.”
So far, seven persons are known to be aspiring to contest the 2023 presidential election on the platform of the PDP.
They include Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal; former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; former Secretary to Government of the Federation ( SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim and former Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
Others are Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State; Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa and Chief Dele Momodu.
However, pressure has been mounting on former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi, to join the presidential race.
Following the zoning of the position of national chairman to the North, it was taken that the presidential ticket would be ceded to the South. However, this has been trailed with discordant tunes among party leaders.
Sunday Sun gathered that it was this disagreement that made it impossible for the party to take a decision on the zoning of elective offices, alongside party offices, before the convention.
The PDP National Executive Committee (NEC) which ratified the zoning of the national chairmanship to the North, at its 94th meeting, deferred decision on the zoning of its presidential ticket.
Nevertheless, the NEC, which is the second highest party organ, had at that meeting held on October 7 opened discussion on the the report of the Governor Bala Mohammed Committee, which dealt with zoning of the 2023 presidential ticket.
The Bala Committee, which reviewed the party’s performance in the 2019 general elections, had said that the party should be guided by merit in deciding its 2023 presidential ticket.
Consequently, it noted that ordinarily the the Southeast and Northeast, which are yet to produce a president for the country should be given special consideration on the presidential ticket for the sake of equity. Nevertheless, it advised that the ticket should be thrown open to all interested aspirants.
A PDP leader from the North, confirming to Sunday Sun, that there is anxiety in the opposition party over zoning, disclosed that the party is faced with two choices going by the Bala Mohammed’s committee report.
According to him, the choices are whether to zone to either the Southeast or Northeast or throw it open.
“The suggestion in the Bala Committee are in two folds. The first one is that we should look at the Northeast and the Southeast. The second option is that going by the current trend in our nation, we should use merit and throw it open. It was raised at the last NEC. It was resolved that let us first sort out the zoning of party offices. Then we come back to it,” he stated.
But, the party leader added, that the Southern governors in PDP, in pushing for the national chairmanship to be ceded to the North were united in the demand that the presidential ticket should be zoned to the South.
He said :”I know that Southern governors were united that the Presidency should come to the South. The original agenda was to get the President zoned to the South.”
However, hopes that a Southerner would get to fly the PDP flag in the next general election may be fading as three South-south governors elected on the platform are angling to be running mate to any of the Northern presidential aspirants.
A member of the PDP NEC from the South, who does not want his name on print, told Sunday Sun, that some of the governors had at a meeting with one of the northern presidential aspirants, given him a list of three South-south governors, from which he should choose his running mate, as a condition for their support.
He explained that when one the governors on the list discovered he might not be favoured, he pulled out of the arrangement.
According to him, “the governors are not together. We might have a NEC meeting within the next three weeks. I am sure the zoning of the presidential ticket will part of the major agenda.
“If you look at the body language of the party, you will discover that the Southeast is not pushing strongly enough. Our best person is Peter Obi. But he is not forthcoming. If Peter declares, and Anyim Pius Anyim declares, it will be difficult for the PDP to say throw it open.”
Efforts to reach the the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, for reaction, was unsuccessful, as he did not respond to repeated calls to his mobile line at the time of filing this report. (Adopted from Sunday Sun)
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