Fresh Crisis Over PDP Chairmanship Zoning, Members Demand Open Contest

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THERE are fresh agitations over the zoning formula proposed by the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwanyi-led Peoples Democratic Party Zoning Committee.

The PUNCH gathered in Abuja, on Sunday, that while party members in the north are yet to agree on which part of the zone should produce the next national chairman, the predominant opinion favours the north central.

It was also gathered that party members from the south are not comfortable with the decision to zone the chairmanship to the north.

A member of the party’s National Executive Committee who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution confirmed this development.

The source said, “There are protests over the zoning arrangement recommended by the Ugwanyi committee.

“There are various levels of agitations within the party which the NEC will have to revisit.

“There are people who are of the opinion that the party ought to have left open the contest for the position of National Chairmanship, Secretary and Presidential ticket while other offices should be allowed to remain where they were.

“There are all kinds of agitations. There are those who are of the opinion that taking the national chairmanship to the north amounts to giving the north an equal opportunity to field a presidential candidate.

“It is not written anywhere that once the chairmanship comes from the north, the presidential flag bearer cannot come from the north, nothing is cast in stone, even on the issue of zoning, is still generating heat.”

Another top-ranking party source who also spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the matter said, “Even in the north, some tendencies within the zone are insisting that the contest be left open instead of the move to micro zone it to the north central.

“Some members of the party from the South East are also not happy that the office of the National Organizing Secretary is being taken away from them.

“Those in this school of thought argue that zoning the office of the National Chairman and that of the NOS to the north was political brinkmanship aimed at putting the entire south at a disadvantage.”

However, party leaders from the North Central have started consultations ahead of the National Executive Committee meeting of the party slated for Thursday.

Usually, reliable party sources who confirmed this development told our correspondent that the zone is considering a number of persons should the National Executive Committee ratify the decision of the zoning committee.

One of the party leaders who also spoke on condition of anonymity so as not “to preempt Thursday’s NEC meeting, said, “Those being considered include: Former Senate President, David Mark, Senator Tunde Ogbeha, former governors of Kogi State, Idris Wada and Ibrahim Idris, Prof. Jerry Gana, and former Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu.”

The source further said, “There is also a challenge. If you say a Wada or Idris should take the position of chairman for example, where are you going to get the secretary from?

“This is because in the PDP, aside from regional balancing, we also respect religious balancing. Are you going to the South West where you have a sizable number of muslims to pick a Christian as national secretary? If so, who are you considering?

“The South West is also insisting that they be given the Chairmanship first, if they get the Presidential ticket, they will relinquish the chairmanship.

“There are also agitations that the Senator Bala Mohammed Committee should also be considered along with the Ugwuanyi committee report for balance. The NEC has a lot of work to do on Thursday but consultations are still ongoing.”

When contacted, Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Diran Odeyemi said, “Unlike other political parties, the PDP is not owned by any Nigerian, all Nigerians own this party.

“What is happening in our party today if proof that our internal conflict resolution mechanism is working. We remain grateful to our governors, elders and members of the NEC for rising to the occasion.

“The suspension of our National Chairman, Uche Secondus by an order of Court, has not affected the smooth running of our party. When the time comes, our party will present to Nigerians a new national chairman and a presidential candidate they will gladly associate with.”

Source:- Punch Ng

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