Fresh Crisis Looms In PDP Over Zoning, Adhoc Delegates’ list  

Fresh crisis is looming in the Peoples Democratic Party. This, those familiar with happenings within the party explained, is due to the unresolved issue of zoning as well as the dispute over the election of adhoc delegates across the 36 States of the federation.

Each of the states; including the Federal Capital Territory, is expected to elect three delegates who will partake in the election of the party’s standard bearers for the 2023 general elections at all levels.  

Vanguard gathered in Abuja, on Tuesday, that while Presidential aspirants of southern extraction are reaching out to party leaders to zone the ticket to the South, their Northern colleagues want the contest for the ticket to be left open.  

Some party stakeholders especially in the party’s strongholds in the South are up in arms against their state governors who they accuse of hijacking the delegates’ election process in furtherance of their personal ambitions.

Already, party stakeholders in the Abia, Oyo, Enugu and Rivers State among others are currently engaged in battles of attrition with their governors.

Aggrieved members of the party in Abia stormed the state party secretariat in Umuahia on Tuesday, to register their displeasure over alleged undue interference by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.

In Oyo, it appears the truce brokered by the Senator Bukola Saraki-led National Reconciliation Committee, has broken down. The party’s only Senator representing Oyo South, on Monday resigned his membership following renewed disagreement with Governor Seyi Makinde.     
In Enugu, party loyalists are beginning to question whether “Enugu is in the hands of God or in the hands of thugs,” following the violence which was reported in parts of the state during the delegates elections.  

When contacted, the PDP National Vice Chairman (South East), Ali Odefa, dismissed as speculations news of violence during the exercise in his zone

He told our correspondent over the telephone, that the exercise was peaceful as there has been no official report of anything to the contrary before the party leadership in the zone.

Odefa said, “The exercise has been peaceful across our zone. We have not received any report to the contrary. If there has been any irregularity, I am sure it will be brought before the appeals panels we have set up.”

A high ranking member of the party leadership who spoke to our Correspondent in confidence said, “We are fully aware of the level of anxiety and the ongoing lobby to at least zone the Presidency to the South while allowing others to still contest. Don’t forget, we have always had a zoning committee.

“We are equally aware that the ruling party is waiting and praying for us to make a mistake for them to cash in, we are treading softly and I can assure you we will come up with a position that is best suited for our party and Nigeria.

“Zoning is in our constitution, we have been zoning since we formed this party over two decades ago. Now, because we made a mistake and lost power in 2015, we are being forced to rethink our strategy.

“The ruling All Progressives Congress, has performed woefully and Nigerians are looking up to us for direction that is why you see so much interest in who becomes our flag bearer. We will not disappoint Nigerians.”

Recall, former Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, has been very vocal about his desire to see the party zone its Presidential ticket to the South because according to him, it was the right thing to do.

While responding to questions from reporters on the subject soon after his screening by the PDP Presidential Screening Committee, he said, “Well, I say it again, very expressly, that I am for zoning and I believe the best thing this party can do for posterity, for tomorrow, so as not to cause confusion is for this party.

“You know why, If we fail to do it, even if we say anybody can contest, you must officially zone it to the South.

“In 1999, it was zoned to the South which brought Obasanjo and Olu Falaye. Rimi still contested within the ambit of the Constitution.

“But the party must remember whatever we do today, will stand against us tomorrow. The system is not functioning in our country; the institutions are not functioning that is why we have all these problems.

“And we must be courageous enough to say this is going to South. If you want to contest the Nigerian constitution still gives you the leverage, the opportunity to do so. I support zoning this to southern Nigeria.

“And if you look at APC largely those obtaining these forms are from the South and because they know the president of Nigeria currently is from the north.

“It is not a party affair, he is president of Nigeria is in the north now it must come to the South. This is not a sign of weakness, but it’s a sign to make sure that you don’t have the leeway for some people who will be using it negatively in future.

However, his former Anambra State counterpart and fellow aspirant, Mr. Peter Obi, would rather have the party decide what was best on the issue.

Obi said, “Whatever the party does, for me is to care more about what Nigerian people are looking for. How do we create a future for the teeming unemployed Nigerian youths pulling Nigerians out of hunger?

“The party has the final say. I can’t have a thought; I’m a member of a party. If the party says this is where they want the party to go, if you’re a member of an organization, you respect that organization. And that is why I said, whatever we do, the most critical thing is, what we do to pull Nigerians out of poverty and create a future for teeming unemployed youths of Nigeria.“

Speaking in a similar vein, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Emmanuel Udom, who was asked his position on the decision by Southern Governors that the Presidency be zoned to the south, said, “Party is supreme; if the party has spoken we will abide by what the party has said.”

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