Saturday, 2 October 2021

2023: PDP May Throw Presidential Ticket Open Despite The Committee’s Decision Zoning National Chair To South

PDP may throw its presidential ticket open despite the decision of the Governor Ugwanyi committee to zone the position of the national chairman to the South.

Top leaders of the PDP said on Friday that the Ugwanyi committee took the decision it announced two days ago to douse tension in the party and preserve what they call “its precarious unity.”

Recanting its earlier decision that the existing zoning structure should suffice for 2023, the committee on Thursday announced that the current positions be swapped between the North and the South with effect from October this year.

This means that the national chair currently zoned to the South will go to the North. Observers interpreted this to mean that the presidential ticket will be zoned to the South in line with the convention on zoning of offices.

Party leaders, however, said this assumption is wrong. They said the popular belief in the party is that its presidential candidate should come from the North if it wants to wrest power from the APC.

They said Atiku Abubakar, Governor Tambuwal, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Sule Lamido and Bukola Saraki, all from the North, who are scheming to fly the party’s ticket, are not precluded from the race.

Indeed, a governor from the South was said to have sneaked into the residence of Atiku to explain the permutations behind the zoning of the party’s national chairmanship to the North.

The Southern governor, who left under the cover of the night, was said to have had some soothing words for Atiku.

It was also learnt yesterday that some of the supporters of the aforementioned presidential hopefuls have shifted the zoning battle to the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party, which may hold anytime next week.

Some Northern PDP leaders have been pushing for a PDP national chairman from the South and the presidential candidate for the 2023 poll from the North.

Findings revealed that the report of the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi Zoning Committee might be ratified by the NEC for strategic reasons.

It was gathered that NEC may adopt a “technical module” to leave the presidential ticket open to the North and the South.

Investigation revealed that Northern PDP leaders had been grumbling about marginalization in the party.

They alleged that out of the 16 years the PDP had occupied the nation’s presidency, the South was in charge for about 14 years, including those of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo (eight years) and ex-President Gooodluck Jonathan (about five and a half years).

They said they were not bound by the Northern slot conceded to President Muhammadu Buhari by the All Progressives Congress (APC).

A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “From the look of things, the zoning politics is not yet over in spite of the report of Ugwuanyi’s committee.

“I am aware that some PDP governors visited some power brokers on why they zoned the office of the national chairman of the party to the North.

“A governor from the South was with a presidential hopeful on Thursday night. This is to underscore the fact that zoning intrigues are still in place.

“We are going into strategic level on variables to dislodge APC from power.

“Our plan is now to throw the presidential ticket open to the North and the South. If the North clinches the presidential slot, whoever emerges as the next national chairman of PDP from the North may have to step down for a candidate from the South.

“So, while Ugwuanyi’s committee may have submitted its report, no aspirant or zone has been ruled out of the presidential ticket of the party.”

Responding to a question, a former governor said: “We are floating Plan B because politics is fluid. We promote the unity of Nigeria more than any other party. So, our guiding principle is fairness to the North and the South.”

But some aggrieved Northern PDP leaders, who wanted zoning of the office of the National Chairman to the South may still shift the battle to the next NEC meeting.

No date has been fixed for the NEC session which will ratify the report of Ugwuanyi’s committee.

“These Northern leaders have been making a strong case for the retention of the presidential slot in the North.

“They saw the Ugwuanyi Committee’s report as a booby trap which fitted into the agenda of Southern governors at their recent meeting in Enugu.

“The leaders, who are backing Atiku, Saraki, Tambuwal, Kwankwaso and Lamido, see the NEC meeting as a window to upturn the report of the committee.”

A PDP governor however said: “I don’t think anything will change at the NEC meeting. We can only improve on the report by making the presidential ticket open to the North and the South.

“Wherever the presidency is zoned to by the party may make us to alter the zoning formula for party offices. If the presidential ticket goes to the North, the office of the national chairman will return to the South.”

It was learnt that Atiku, Saraki, Tambuwal, Kwankwaso, Lamido and their strategists have also retreated to their political cells on how to secure PDP presidential ticket.

“It is going to be a battle royale in PDP. There will be more politics ahead to the recommendations of Ugwuanyi’s committee.

“I know the bigwigs from the North will go ahead to create upset. By virtue of age, some of them are on the verge of their last chance to aspire to the office, ” a member of NEC added.

APC will destroy your reputation, Wike warns Jonathan

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has told former President Goodluck Jonathan not to leave the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He said that if the former president must seek another term in office, he should do so on the platform of the PDP instead of falling for the bait the ruling party is dangling before reputable members of the opposition party.

Wike, who spoke in an interview aired on the Pidgin service of the BBC, said: “If I see the former President, I will tell him what I heard. I will tell him don’t go anywhere because these people want to destroy your reputation. They don’t like you.

“What APC is doing now is to bring reputable people from PDP, and when they bring them, they destroy them so that they won’t have anywhere to go again.

“I respect the former President because he is a man of integrity. But if I am to advise him, I will tell him, ‘Sir, don’t make that mistake. If you want to run for President, run under PDP. Nigerians cherish you more than this government. They have seen that all the things the government promised them are lies. So, please don’t join the APC for the sake of your reputation.’

“He (Jonathan) has the right to decide whatever he wants to do. But like I said before, if my former President runs for President in APC, I won’t be able to vote for APC in the election, because that would be anti-party. But if he runs in PDP, I will work to ensure he wins the election.”

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