The crack in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South over zoning of party and elective offices has widened.
Leaders of the main opposition party from the North remain stuck to their position that the party chairmanship position should go to the South.
North’s PDP leaders went into another round of meeting last night in Abuja.
Following pressure, the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi Zoning Committee has decided to consult more PDP governors and members of the Board of Trustees (BOT) in Abuja before coming up with its recommendations tomorrow for the National Executive Committee (NEC) to consider.
Senior party figures have been lobbying committee members on why the 2017 zoning formula should be retained.
Investigation showed that PDP leaders have been meeting on the zoning of offices in the party but without much success.
The offices to be filled at the convention are the National Chairman, Deputy National Chairman(north), Deputy National Chairman(South); National Secretary; Deputy National Secretary; National Financial Secretary; National Organizing Secretary; National Treasurer; National Auditor; National Legal Adviser; National Publicity Secretary; National Youth Leader; and National Women Leader.
A Northern PDP leader said: “We have been meeting on how to arrive at a just formula in a way that it will stabilize the party and the country. We decided to hold another session on Tuesday because we have to guide the party right.
“Politically, zoning the presidency to the North and chairmanship to the South is strategically realistic for PDP now but it is morally indefensible and unfriendly. But we believe we are in politics to win, PDP cannot afford to be in limbo for 12 years, it will die.
“Look at the position of the Northern Governors Forum (NGF) which is in favour of a Northern presidency. Is the forum not dominated by APC governors? This is to show you that PDP must do its homework very well. This is not time for North-South divide but a period of exigency.
“Our stand is that the 2017 formula is the way to go in order to enable us start preparations for 2023 in earnest.”
In the South, the PDP leaders have continued to be divided on the acceptable zoning formula.
Although some PDP leaders in the South-West have sought for the office of National Chairman of the party, Governor Seyi Makinde, a former National Secretary of the party, Olagunsoye Oyinlola and ex-Governor Ayo Fayose are not on the same page on who should be the candidate.
It was also learnt that while Makinde has been linked with support for ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Oyinlola is said to be a favourite choice of the camp of a former President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, some Middle Belt leaders and remnants of the loyalists of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is no longer fully involved in politics.
In the South-East, ex-Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, a former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and a former Corps Marshal of FRSC, Osita Chidoka have sharp differences with ex-Governor Peter Obi, who was the PDP’s Vice Presidential Candidate during the 2019 poll.
It was gathered that Anyim, Ekweremadu and Osita prefer power shift to the South in 2023 with the position of PDP National Chairman for the North.
But Peter Obi was however banking on the zoning formula arrived at by the PDP NEC.
A source said: “I think Obi does not mind being a running mate again to Atiku.”
In the South-South, Governor Nyesom Wike is coordinating power shift to the South but his desire and approach were at variance with Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor Douye Diri and ex-Governor Liyel Imoke.
Governor Udom Emmanuel sticks to a middle course on the zoning war in PDP.
A member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of PDP said: “With the cracks in the South, the party’s heart will be in the North and it may retain the presidential slot.
“I think the next 48 hours will determine where PDP is headed.”