•As APC, PDP not likely to zone Presidency to the region
•PDP to throw it open, considers Southwest for chairmanship
•Intrigues surface as both parties seek to outfox each other
By Emmanuel Aziken
A game of intrigues between the two major political parties, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the All Progressives Congress, APC is shaping up over the zoning of their 2023 presidential tickets.
The two parties, sources revealed, are looking across at one another with the intention of not being outfoxed in the zoning puzzle.
The opposition PDP which yesterday inaugurated a zoning committee according to Saturday Vanguard sources is gravitating towards zoning the office of national chairman to the Southwest.
And in a move which is bound to likely upset the APC, the principalities in the PDP are also planning to leave the zoning of the 2023 presidential ticket open to all regions of the country.
The move is against the expectation of the APC which had been planning to square up to the PDP by leaving its own ticket open until after the PDP would have zoned its presidential ticket.
The moves in the PDP and APC, it was learnt, are bound to upset those canvassing for the zoning of the presidency to the Southeast.
The decision to zone to the chairmanship to the Southwest, a party insider told Saturday Vanguard, was upon the general agreement of restituting for the sin of 2017 when the party offended the zone by giving the office to Prince Uche Secondus from the South-South.
“You know what happened in 2017 and what it caused at that time and how people like Professor Tunde Adeniran left,” the source said as he referenced the defection to the Social Democratic Party, SDP of the former education minister and a one time top operator of the opposition party.
Senator Rasheed Ladoja was also another disappointed party chieftain who also left the party at that time.
Besides the restitution, a party source also said that zoning the office to the Southwest would also help to mobilise the region for the coming governorship elections in Osun and Ekiti States.
“They need it to drive the party towards winning the election in the two states and you can hear what happened yesterday now,” the party source from the Northcentral said in reference to the reported defection of a high profile loyalist of Rauf Aregbesola to the PDP.
With the APC in Osun now thrown asunder between Governor Gboyega Oyetola and Aregbesola, the source said that the PDP stood the opportunity to gain by mobilizing well with the help of a national chairman from the zone.
However, despite the seeming decision to zone the office to the Southwest, the party, Saturday Vanguard gathered would leave the presidency open to all sections of the country.
Against the convention that the presidential flagbearer would come from the opposite section of the country, it was gathered that PDP insiders would prefer to leave it open for the sake of party unity and also for the purpose of fending off the APC which is waiting for a slip from the opposition party.
The PDP’s stance, it was gathered, is helped by the fact that nearly all the serious presidential contenders are from the North.
“It doesn’t really change anything for now,” it was claimed yesterday.
The main presidential contenders include Atiku Abubakar, Bukola Saraki, Governor Bala Mohammed and Aminu Tambuwal.
There are, however, insinuations that Governor Tambuwal may be putting his eyes in the top spot in the National Assembly following suggestions that the country may not be ready for another Northwest president following President Umaru Yar‘Adua and President Muhammadu Buhari.
Despite the Thursday communique of the Southern governors it was also gathered that no one in the PDP from the zone is really putting forward his feet towards the presidency except the party specifically zones the office to the South.
“There are two PDP governors who will come forward if the office is zoned to the South, but without it I don’t see them coming out,” one party official said on the condition of anonymity.
Saturday Vanguard reports that the House of Representatives Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu had few days ago seemingly thrust forward Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State for the presidency. It is, however, not certain if the assertion by Elumelu had the approval of Okowa who has held political office at all levels of government from local government to the federal level.
The signs are, however, more ominous for the Southeast in the two parties.
Recent moves by President Buhari to rally APC troops in the Southeast was at the weekend yet to gain traction. The recent presidential visit to Imo State and the president’s commitment to the emergence of Senator Andy Uba as governor of Anambra State on the platform of the APC had been canvassed as a way of pushing forward the zone’s capacity to argue for the ticket to be zoned to region.
“With President Buhari’s endorsement of Senator Andy Uba, it is now left to Anambra voters to endorse Uba, so as to facilitate Ndigbo’s quest to produce Nigeria’s President of Igbo extraction in 2023,” Mr. Osita Okechukwu, director-general of the Voice of Nigeria, VON said in a statement made available to Saturday Vanguard.
Arguing further, he said:
“Senator Andy Uba’s victory in the November 6, 2021 gubernatorial election will strengthen our collective bargain for Nigeria’s president of Igbo extraction in 2023.”
However, internal divisions within the Anambra State chapter of the APC and related factors were upsetting that aspiration.
“It is not possible for us to win the election. Our party rating in Anambra is poor, our candidate’s rating is also poor,” a top APC shot told Saturday Vanguard.
Hope for a Southeast president emerging on the platform of the PDP is also not forthcoming given the thinning of the party in the region.
The party which few years ago had a 100% hold on all the governorship and state legislative houses has now been reduced to a minority.
“They are not serious,” a party operative said as he recalled frustrations that attended moves championed by Senator Ike Ekweremadu to bring Southeast leaders together on the issue at a parley in Senator Uzor Orji Kalu’s country home earlier this year.
“You don’t get the Presidency through agitation. For now, Bola Ahmed Tinubu remains the front-runner from the south,” Hon. Musa Sarkin Adar, member of House of Reps from Sokoto said yesterday on Arise Television.