Barring any last minute change, aspirants to various positions in the October 30 National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), may know offices zoned to their regions tonight. The 40-member zoning committee set up at the 93rd National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party will meet this evening in Enugu to decide on the zoning formula. The committee is headed by Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi while his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom is the deputy.
At the inauguration of the National Convention Planning Committee last Friday, the Chairman, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State, pleaded with the zoning committee to complete its assignment within seven days, to enable his committee commence preparations for the convention. Fintiri had argued that printing of accreditation cards and ballot papers will not be concluded without the Zoning Committee completing its work. “I call on the Zoning Committee to work and conclude their assignment by end of next week, so that we can start our job. It is not an order, but that is what we least expect from you, end of Friday next week.
“We are going to work hand-in-hand and urge them to quickly finish their job so that those who are interested in any position will also quickly start running round the country to canvas for votes. “Nigeria is not a small country. Nigeria is not Benin, or Togo. Nigeria is a very big country that needs time to go round and sell themselves,” he contended. The Ugwuanyi Committee’s assignment is limited only to zoning of national offices.
Nigerians are waiting eagerly to know where the PDP will zone its National Chairmanship position. This might give inkling to the direction the party might go when the search for the 2023 presidential candidate begins. But former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi argued that zoning of the chairmanship will not determine where the presidential candidate will come from. Southern Governors’ Forum (SGF), a non-partisan association of Southern Nigeria governors, at its meetings in Ibadan and Enugu, had insisted that the 2023 Nigeria president must come from the south.
This has put PDP in a difficult position. The party is said to be more disposed to choosing its presidential candidate from the north. A source at the party’s National Secretariat told New Telegraph that the PDP may pick its national chairman from South West, “but that does not mean the presidency has been zoned to the North. “We know that our presidential candidate will come from the north, but zoning the chairmanship to South West is to correct the injustice meted to the region. “The South West believed they were robbed of the position in 2017, and this affected the PDP in the 2019 election.
“For us to make a serious impact in the South West in 2023, the National Chairman must come from the zone, to give them a sense of belonging. “From the look of things, APC will likely not choose its presidential candidate from the South West. But if our National Chairman comes from the region, it will make a lot of difference,” he said. Another source said the position may be thrown open to qualified and interested aspirants in all parts of the country. “In this way, it will be difficult to know where the party’s presidential candidate will come from, even if the National Chairman emerges from any of the regions. Remember, APC has not conducted their (its) convention.