2023: North, South in epic battle over presidential ticket

Posted by News Express | 25 March 2022 | 640 times

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As the zoning committee of the leading opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) commences work, top shots of the party are set for an epic battle over the party’s presidential ticket.

Daily Trust reports that the battle to fly the party’s presidential flag climaxed last week when the various organs of the party including the National Executive Committee (NEC) failed to resolve the zoning formula impasse.

The development led to the formation of a 37-man zoning committee to suggest how best to resolve the issue. The panel, inaugurated by the National Chairman of the party, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, is expected to submit its report on April 7.

But as the panel members comprising three sitting governors, 12 former governors, former ministers and lawmakers set for their sitting, the scheming for the presidential ticket thickened. It is a battle between the northern and southern chieftains of the party.

On Monday, three presidential aspirants of the party; a former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed, began a process for the emergence of a consensus candidate. Twice, the trio have met.

In the South, leaders of the party rose from a meeting in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital insisting that the party’s flag bearer must come from the southern part of the country.  The issue, it was gathered, top the discussion of the governors who are members of the party in Abia on Wednesday. The party has 13 governors.

So far, forms for the race have been purchased for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; Tambuwal, Saraki, Bala Mohammed and a former Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim.  The national convention of the party where the party flag bearer will emerge has been fixed for May 28.

Wike fuelling agitation for southern presidency

Party sources last night blamed the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike for the rising agitation for Southern presidency.

One of the sources, from the South, said the focus of the party should be on how to sack the APC administration in 2023 and not zoning.

“There is nothing like southern agitation, it’s Wike’s agitation to pick the presidential ticket. It’s unfortunate that an individual’s interest is being packaged as a regional quest, “he said.

While insisting that it was Wike’s agenda, he said the North has more “sellable aspirants” than the South.

Our reporter could not get an official reaction from Wike on the matter but a source from the PDP in the state, who craved anonymity, said that zoning is a collective decision of PDP stakeholders.

Ayu urges aspirants to accept zoning c’ttee outcome

Inaugurating the zoning committee, Ayu urged the presidential aspirants to accept the outcome of the zoning committee put together by the NEC of the party.

He said the unity of the party and how to win the next presidential election was more important to the party and its members.

He, therefore, stated that the PDP has a history of rotating its positions, saying that “At the beginning, we push the presidency to the South. I was one of those who took that decision. And there are many others here in this hall. After General Olusegun Obasanjo, we voluntarily sent it to Katsina; faith played a fast one on us. But in the same spirit, after late Umaru Yar’Adua, we sent it to Bayelsa.

“So PDP has a history of rotating our offices. Anybody who doesn’t get it this time should wait after the tenure of whoever will be our next president; we believe PDP is going to produce the next president. We will ensure it goes round. And it will go round with justice, fairness and the interest of Nigeria.”

We’ll reach out to other aspirants – Saraki, Tambuwal, Mohammed

For the second time, the trio of Saraki, Tambuwal and Bala Mohammed met in furtherance of their consensus arrangement.

Speaking, Saraki, who hosted the meeting, said they were going to reach out to other aspirants.

“It is important as stakeholders and as key leaders of this party that we’re seen to be united. Some of the decisions we’ve taken today also are that we’re going to embark on reaching out to other aspirants.

“We’ve already, of course, identified senior leaders of the party and also other aspirants across the country and also stakeholders, some of their former colleagues and governors. We’re also going to reach out to all parts of this process of bringing us together uniting the party ahead.

“The major issue and message we want to put across to Nigerians is that the country is larger and bigger than our individual interests. And we’re committed to the process. Because we believe that once we unite as PDP, we’ll lay the foundation there for a strong party that will help in delivering Nigerians from the challenges that they’re facing now and prepare for the country to be much stronger as we go ahead,” he said.

Open contest best option

Another source, a member of the zoning committee, said they would push that the race be left open to all. He said doing so would enable the party to beam its searchlight across the country.

He alleged that the southern governors who are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are pushing the PDP to pick the presidential candidate from their region where they have a comparative advantage.

 “Our aspirants from the North are our best bet. But for the APC, it is not. From all indications, they are picking their candidate from the South.  We should avoid following the crowd and adopt a strategy that will work for us.

“We must take whatever measure needed to defeat the ruling party. We must consider the interest of Nigeria and that of the party in making the decision,” he said. (Daily Trust: Excluding headline)


Source: News Express

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