Democratic Party (PDP) members over the zoning of the 2023 presidential ticket as organs of the party began a series of meetings last night.
Tension heightened as key leaders and governors started arriving in Abuja yesterday.
Questions were being asked over which zone – North or South – would win the battle to get the party’s ticket.
The multiple meetings of leaders and elders started with that of the National Caucus billed for last night to harmonise its position on the agenda for the National Executive Committee meeting where decisions on where to zone the presidential ticket will be taken.
National Chairman Iyorchia Ayu chairs the National Caucus.
Members include serving/former presidents, serving/former vice presidents, serving/former Senate presidents and serving/former deputy Senate presidents.
Serving PDP governors, serving principal officers in the two chambers of the National Assembly, chairman and secretary of the BoT are also members.
Similarly, former principal officers of the National Assembly, former national chairmen and former chairmen of the Board of Trustees (BoT), and members of the National Working Committee (NWC) are also included in the membership.
Today, the BoT will hold two separate meetings at 10 am and 12 pm ahead of the meeting of the NEC slated for 2pm.
Party sources hinted at a division over zoning of the presidential ticket.
While some of the stakeholders canvass zoning, others insist on throwing the contest open to all interested aspirants.
A source confided in our correspondent yesterday that the division cuts across the various layers of the party’s critical organs.
“As we speak, the party is divided over zoning. The division is not strictly on a North/South basis.
“For instance, PDP members in the National Assembly, most of who are southerners, do not want zoning. The majority of these federal lawmakers want an open contest, as some of the aspirants including former Senate President Bukola Saraki.
“It may also interest you that not all our governors from the South are in support of zoning the presidential ticket.
“The governors are also divided on zoning, just like the BoT, the National Caucus and even the NWC. There is no consensus on the matter for now,” the source, who craved anonymity, said.
However, those nursing presidential aspirations have scaled up lobbying and consultations to have the pendulum sway their way.
While some of the aspirants have been lobbying to have the ticket zoned to the south, others are pushing for an open contest.
Incidentally, virtually all members of the various party organs are also members of NEC. They will have input in the final decision expected to be taken at the NEC meeting.
Southern PDP governors had joined forces with their APC counterparts to press for the zoning of the presidential tickets to their region.
Those from the North are arguing that the last PDP presidential candidate, former President Goodluck Jonathan, is from the South and that it is the turn of the North to have the ticket.
They also argued that by 2023 on the North/South rotation, the North would have done only ten years to the South’s 14 years, thereby making it imperative for a Northerner to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
Presidential aspirants from the North include Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal, Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Aspirants from the South include former Senate President Pius Ayim, Chief Sam Ohuanbunwa and foremost journalist Dele Momodu. Also speculated to be interested but yet to declare an interest is Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike.
Credit: National Daily News