Dayo Johnson Akure
Indication emerged that the zoning arrangement earlier adopted by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP ahead of the 2023 general elections may be jettisoned.
Recall that the party had a few weeks ago, hinted that its national chairman would emerge from the Southwest.
Vanguard learnt that no fewer than four chairmanship aspirants have so far shown interest from the zone.
They include former governors Ayo Fayose, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, erstwhile deputy national chairman, Olabode George and Eyitayo Jegede, SAN the party’s governorship candidate in the last election in the state.
Though the party has remained silent on the zoning of its presidential ticket, no one was yet to signify interest from the South.
It is an open secret that the former vice president Atiku Abubakar and the Sokoto state governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal are known to be interested in flying the flag of the party
This development, according to the national leader of the party “has given rife to undisputed speculations that the opposition parry had zoned its ticket to the North.
But the new twist is said to be triggered by two major considerations which the source said were not issues “to be overlooked”.
” First is the push by the Southern Governors Forum that President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor must come from the Southern part of the country.
” It is also gathered that the PDP may be opting for a new zoning arrangement as the former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan wraps up his deal with the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC any moment from now.
A former member of the National Working Committee(NWC) of the PDP told newsmen in confidence that “the insistence of the PDP to pick its national chairman from the South while looking in the direction of the North for the presidential candidate appears to be waning by the day as a result of the national pulse”.
“Our initial plan was to pick the national chairman from the Southwest so that our candidate can come from the north.
” But with the way things are going, we are on the edge of being shut out of relevance if we insist on that.
” Even the PDP governors appear to be developing clay foot on their preferred northern aspirants because they have jointly taken a position on the matter.
“The argument has been that our parry is different from the APC and that we can pick from the north; but with the way the Southern Governors are pushing, the Committee on zoning is also considering a lot about the push.
“Remember that the chairman of the zoning Committee is the governor of Enugu State who hosted the last Southern Governors Forum meeting.
“From all indications, the governors of the south are determined irrespective of party lines ensure the candidates of major parties are from the South. Do we overlook it? no.
“Apart from that, the ruling party is already thinking along that line by wooing the former president, and we know they are already putting finishing touches to their talks, they will conclude very very soon and we are aware that at least two more PDP governors are heading the APC way ahead of Jonathan.
“So, we are already looking very seriously, at the possible implications of fielding a northerner; and in a matter of days, we will come out clearly to unveil a fresh plan in respect of the zoning issue. It has to be revisited and we are thinking along that way now”, he said.
One of the governorship aspirants in the last election in the state told the vanguard that ” everything is still in the realm of speculation.
” When we get to the river we will cross it. Don’t worry about where our Presidential candidate will come from.
” What’s certain is that he or she would be a Nigerian and all that matters is that we wrestle power from the ruling party which has taken us backwards within the last six years.
But, a senator representing the Southern senatorial district in Ondo state, Nicholas Tofowomo told ” My party is yet to zone the presidential ticket to any zone. As soon as it’s decided it will be binding on me to support that candidate not minding wherever he comes from within the geopolitical zones.
When reminded that would the decision be arrived at by the southern governors who insisted that President Muhammadu Buhari successor must come from the South, Tofowomo said ” l am not part of their decision and when they were making such decision I was not carried along.