The presidential ambition of some top Northern leaders in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) hangs in the balance following the zoning of the party’s national chairmanship to the Northern geo-political zone.
Traditionally, the presidential ticket of the party goes to the part of the country that did not produce the party chairman.
Also, the South West’s desire to clinch the national chairmanship seat will no longer materialise.
Rising from a much-anticipated meeting yesterday, the PDP zoning committee led by the Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, zoned the national chairmanship of the party to the North.
The committee also recommended that the current offices being held by officers in the southern zones of the country should swap places with the offices currently in the northern zones.
Presently, the PDP national secretary is from North West; national organising secretary, South East; national treasurer, North East; national publicity secretary, North Central.
Also, the national legal adviser is presently occupied by the South South, one deputy national chairman from North East and South West each, national women leader and financial secretary, North Central.
Northern political leaders in the party who have been linked with the presidential ticket of the party are former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal; Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed; former Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki; and former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido.
On the other hand, those eyeing the national chairman of the party include former Osun State governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola; Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose; a governorship candidate in Ondo State, Eyitayo Jegede, and PDP national vice chairman, Dan Orbih.
LEADERSHIP recalls that the National Executive Committee (NEC) which sat on September 6 mandated the Ugwuanyi committee to produce a zoning formula for the party ahead of the October 30 elective national convention.
At the committee’s meeting last Friday, those angling for retaining the chairmanship in the South had the upper hand after the matter was debated by both camps .
However, indications that the permutations had changed emerged after the PDP governors met on Wednesday in Abuja.
Rising from a meeting yesterday, the Ugwuanyi-led committee, said it was not mandated to zone the offices of the president, vice president and other executive and legislative offices of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The committee’s report, which was signed by Ugwuanyi as chairman, Governor Samuel Ortom (deputy chairman) and Mahdi Aliyu Mohammed as secretary, also said that zoning of offices in PDP has traditionally been between the North and South of Nigeria.
Reading the communique, Ugwuanyi said, “At the end of the deliberations of the PDP National Zoning Committee, it was resolved as follows:
“The National Zoning Committee of the PDP was given the mandate to zone national offices to be contested by all PDP members of the party at the PDP National Convention of the party scheduled for October 30/31 2021 by the National Executive Committee of the party.
“That the mandate of the committee does not include zoning of the offices of the president, vice president and other executive and legislative offices of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And the decision of the committee to zone the party offices does not in any way affect the executive and legislative offices in Nigeria.
“That zoning of offices on PDP has traditionally been between the North and South of Nigeria.
“The decision of the PDP Zoning Committee is in line with the Constitution of the party on zoning and rotation of party and national offices in the interest of justice, equity and fairness.
“Consequently, the current offices being held by officers in the Southern Zones of the country, namely, South West, South East and South South zones, should swap places with the offices currently in the northern zones of Nigeria, namely, North West, North East and North Central zones.
“We want to thank the party, especially the National Executive Committee that set up this committee on September 9, 2021 for finding us worthy to serve the party in the capacity as Zoning Committee members.
“We shall pass on our recommendations to the National Executive Committee of the Party through the National Working Committee of the Party.”