PDP: Shema, Idris, Dankwanbo emerge top contenders for chairmanship

By Dirisu Yakubu

The sale of nomination forms for various National Working Committee offices of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, originally fixed for Monday, failed to commence, owing to the inability of the South and Northern regions to conclude their micro zoning arrangements.

Although, the National Executive Committee, NEC of the PDP last week, ratified the zoning recommendation of the zoning committee led by the Enugu state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, distribution of these offices among the states in the federation is giving PDP leaders sleepless nights.

An official of the party at the PDP secretariat told our correspondent in confidence that though the office of the National Organizing Secretary opened as early as 8:30AM on Monday (yesterday), no aspirant for any of the offices turned up in what he ascribed to “the ongoing deliberations on which state to get what.”

According to him, “Things are not going on smoothly particularly on which state in these zones to produce XYZ. The chairmanship position for instance is now a battle between the North Central and the North- West. Until an agreement is reached in the ongoing deliberations on which state to get what, it will be foolish to rush to obtain nomination form,” he said.

Vanguard learnt that though some governors want David Mark, former Senate President as the next chairman of the party, other prominent party members including former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar are trying to convince party leaders to settle for former Kaduna state governor, Senator Ahmed Makarfi.

Makarfi, our correspondent gathered, is gradually becoming the front runner as stakeholders believed he gave a good account of himself when he presided over party affairs as chairman of the PDP caretaker committee that conducted the 2017 national elective convention which ushered in the outgoing NWC.

Former Katsina state governor, Ibrahim Shema was nominated alongside Makarfi last week by PDP stakeholders from the North-West zone.

Meanwhile, Senator Bala Mohammed, the Bauchi state governor will today (Tuesday) played host to PDP leaders from the North, the second time he would be doing so in the past one week.

An official of the PDP Governors’ Forum who pleaded anonymity told Vanguard that the meeting would assist the leaders to conclude on states that will produce occupants of the offices zoned to the North in the next NWC.

“They had a fruitful meeting last week even though they did not arrive at a conclusion. Tonight, we expect that leg of the negotiation to be completed ahead of the convention.

“Every state is demanding one position or the other but I think that at the end of the day, we will settle for what is best for PDP as a party,” he said.

In a related development, there are strong indications that the PDP may have zoned the position of National Secretary to the South- East geo-political zone.

A member of the zoning committee who does not want his name in print told this medium that a meeting of Southern PDP Governors will hold today in Benin City, the Edo state capital.

The purpose of the meeting which will be hosted by the Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki, according to the source, is to take a definite position on the offices zoned to the Southern of the country.

Up for grabs for the zone at the October 31 convention are the offices of national secretary, national woman leader, national publicity secretary, national auditor, national financial secretary as well as deputy national chairman (North) of the party.

Although, the South-West was initially favoured to produce the national secretary, the feud between Oyo state governor, Seyi Makinde and former Ekiti state governor, Ayodele Fayose which has since led them to support different persons for the office may have swing the position in favour of the South-East.

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