*…sets up committee on zoning presidential ticket
By Dapo Akinrefon
THERE are strong indications that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, may not zone its presidential ticket and may leave the contest open to all presidential aspirants from all parts of the country in 2023.
Some power brokers in the PDP are angling for the ticket to be zoned to the North, arguing that the party stands a better chance of winning the 2023 presidential election if it retained the ticket in the North.
This is despite the pressure from the southern part of the country or the choices of other political parties, particularly the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, which has resolved in principle to zone the presidency to the South after President Muhammadu Buhari’s eight years in 2023.
Multiple PDP sources hinted that even if the party leadership was conscious of being insensitive to the current mood and did not announce that it would keep the presidency in the North, it may eventually throw the contest open, which ultimately might still leave the North in a vantage position.
A party source, familiar with the development, contended that out of the PDP’s 16 years reign, the South had been ahead of the North, a situation that is believed to work against a southern presidency in the PDP in 2023.
The PDP source noted that in 1999, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a southerner, spent eight years in office before the late Umaru Yar’Adua, a northerner, took over the reins of power, spent two years and 341 days.
Yar’Adua’s death paved the way for Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, a southerner, who went on to complete the term and subsequently ran another four years in office.
This, sources claimed, was the reason the PDP leadership could neither explain nor defend the choice of a southerner as its next presidential candidate, regardless of the choices available to other interests.
A PDP source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said: “It is, therefore, cheeky and outright mischief for anyone to factor in the military era, which we all consider an aberration as part of the time for either of the zones.
“The nation started on a clean slate in 1999 and the arithmetic thereof is valid in the sharing formula.”
The source, however, stated that if the choice was left open, no presidential aspirant from the South would give the idea a shot.
This, he said, could mean the southerners in the PDP also understood the situation as much as their northern counterparts.
A committee has been set up to look into zoning— PDP
Efforts, however, to get the National Publicity of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, proved abortive as his number was not reachable.
But the PDP’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Diran Odeyemi said: “I cannot confirm that, but there is already a committee that has been set up to look into the issue of zoning.”
“It is not ideal to preempt the committee,” he added.