May zone chairmanship to South
…Adjourns till next week for conclusion of work
By Anayo Okoli & Clifford Ndujihe
The meeting of the Zoning Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for national offices of the party ahead of the October 30-31 National Convention ended in Enugu, on Thursday, with the members of the committee adjourning till next week for conclusion of their work.
Addressing newsmen after the closed-door meeting held at the Government House, Enugu, the Chairman of the Committee and Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, said that “we had a fruitful meeting and we adjourned to conclude next week.”
Earlier in his welcome address, Governor Ugwuanyi clarified that the committee has no mandate to zone political offices such as President or Vice President, saying: “Our Committee is strictly limited to the PDP National Executive Offices to be contested at the 2021 PDP National Convention scheduled for the end of October, 2021. We have no mandate to zone political offices such as President or Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Governor Ugwuanyi maintained that the PDP remains the most credible platform to deliver good and accountable governance to Nigeria, adding that the work of the committee will contribute immensely “in this deliberate search for national officers of our party that will help PDP achieve the lofty ideals and goals of our founding fathers.”
He, therefore, encouraged members of the committee to be frank, open and constructive in their proposals and debates, and also exhibit consistency with the enormity of their mandate.
“The membership and leadership of this committee have been carefully selected as it is composed of very experienced, competent and eminent Nigerians who are desirous of repositioning the PDP to play its role not just as the main opposition political party in Nigeria but to build a party that offers alternative policy proposals and hope to Nigerians that there is still light at the end of the tunnel”, Gov. Ugwuanyi said.
Members of the committee present at the meeting include the Governor of Benue State, Dr. Samuel Ortom who is the Deputy Chairman, the Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, Barr. Mahdi Aliyu Mohammed who serves as Secretary, former Presidents of the Senate, Senator Iyorchia Ayu and Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, and former Governors of Niger, Ekiti, Sokoto, Jigawa and Adamawa states, Dr. Muazu Aliyu Babangida, Ayodele Fayose, Attahiru Bafarawa, Sule Lamido, and Boni Haruna, respectively.
They also include Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, SAN, Rt. Hon. Sunday K. E Okoye, Chief Dan Orbih, Chief (Dr.) Ali Odefa, Amb. Mrs. Dr. Kema Chikwe, Chief Osita Chidoka, Barr. Chidi Lloyd, Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw, Senator Emmanuel Nwaka, Engr. Donatus Udeh, among others.
Committee may zone chairmanship to South
Meanwhile, sources at the meeting told Vanguard that the group that wants the chairmanship to be zoned to the South had the upper hand in the deliberations.
At the meeting attended by 25 northern members and their 23 southern colleagues, Vanguard gathered that all the northerners voted for the chairmanship to be zoned to the South as well as maintaining the status quo in terms of zoning of other NWC posts. They were joined by seven South-West members thereby reducing the votes of those who want the chairman to come from the North to 16 against the 32 that want the Status Quo to be maintained.
Sources said that South-West leaders, who voted alongside the North because their zone is bidding for the chairmanship are Taofeek Arapaja, Mrs. Jumoke Akinjide, Mr. Ayo Fayose, Deji Doherty, Senator Hosea Agboola, Senator Duro Faseyi and Mrs Rita Orji (a PDP representative from Lagos).
Said the source: ”It was also decided that the party should suspend discussion on the issue of zoning of the presidential ticket as that is a bridge that will be crossed when the party gets there.
”However, the announcement of the decision of the Committee was deliberately delayed till another meeting scheduled for Thursday September 30, 2021 in Abuja.”