…NWC offices may be swapped across zones, states
...Committee to debate alleged marginalisation of some states in NWC
…As southern leaders develop soft spot for Northern Presidency
…Atiku, Tambuwal back South to produce national chairman
…Ex-NWC members want competent independent-minded chairman
By Dirisu Yakubu
Palpable tension has gripped the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP as members of its zoning committee converge in Enugu, the Enugu state capital today to take decision on zoning the party’s National Working Committee’s offices across the six geo-political zones.
Chaired by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state, the 44-member committee is expected to give direction to the party ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Vanguard reports that party leaders and stakeholders have in the past three weeks been pushing various arguments in a bid to getting the nod of the committee to produce one leader or the other for the party in the new NWC.
Before the committee for deliberation are 18 NWC offices as party leaders made up of 13 governors, national caucus, National Executive Committee, NEC and Board of Trustees, BoT members have all decided to part way with the current leadership of the party at the October 30/31 national elective convention.
A member of the committee who does not want his name in print told Vanguard that the committee is considering swapping the offices such that the positions currently held by the Northerners would go the way of Southerners in the new NWC.
The committee is also considering retaining the offices in their current zones with a slight alteration that would make states not represented in the current NWC to have a representation in the post- Secondus leadership.
He said: “There are many options before the committee. One is to take the offices being held by Northerners to the South and vice versa. Another is to let the current arrangement subsists but with little alteration: positions in the North Central for example can be rotated among the states that make up the zone to pave way for states hitherto not represented to have a voice in the new leadership.”
Throwing more light on this development, he added, “Let me give an instance with the North Central. The zone currently has the National Publicity Secretary, National Financial Secretary and National Vice chairman (North Central) occupied by Kogi, Niger and Plateau states respectively. This time, states such as Benue, Nasarawa and Kwara may produce these officers. This is to give all states in that zone a sense of belonging,” he said.
Vanguard gathered that this is not unconnected with move by governors elected on the platform of the party to block any chance of current NWC members from having a seat in the new leadership of the party.
Meanwhile, leaders of the party from the southern part of the country, this medium learnt, are favourably disposed to having the 2023 Presidential ticket zone to the North. Their argument is that with the South having produced Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan who cumulatively governed the country for about 14 years, it would be a disservice to deny the North of the ticket in 2023.
For the first time, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and Sokoto state governor, Aminu Tambuwal are pushing for chairman of Southern extraction. This according to multiple sources is to pave way for the North to produce the Presidential candidate in 2023 like it did in 2019. Atiku and Tambuwal are again in the running for the party’s sole Presidential ticket.
Independent findings by this medium revealed that though Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state wants the PDP to zone the Presidency to the South; his position has not received the support of fellow Southern governors. They believe that the party has a better chance of producing the President in 2023 with a Northerner as flag bearer.
Meanwhile, the forum of former PDP NWC members, Tuesday, called on the party to seek a leader who is competent and independent-minded for the office of the PDP national chairman and national secretary.
In a statement signed by former PDP Woman leader and ex-Aviation Minister, Kema Chikwe, the forum called on leaders of the party across all layers to work relentlessly for a smooth, free and credible convention in the interest of the party.
“The national convention must be free, fair, transparent and credible to eliminate avoidable frictions in the party.
“We charges the BoT, the PDP Governors’ Forum, the national caucus and all other organs of the party, to ensure that the candidates to be put forward for the position of national chairman and national secretary must be credible and independent-minded persons, capable of commanding the respect of all organs and tiers of the PDP, as well as the attention of Nigerians across board, including other political parties and the international community.
“The national chairman and the national secretary should also be individuals who possess the strength of character needed to resist interferences by contending interests and insist on strict adherence to our party constitution.
“Either the national chairman or the national secretary must be a person who have cognate experience in party administration with the requisite institutional memory needed to stabilize the party within the short time available before the general elections.
“More opportunities should be given to women and youth in the new NWC. The women play critical role in stabilizing the party and control a very effective constituency; while the youths introduce vibrancy in the positions they hold. Besides, the party needs to groom the younger generation for seamless succession,” the statement read in part.