PDP zoning committee meeting ends without decision on new formula

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Abuja – The meeting of the Zoning Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has ended Enugu without resolution on a new zoning arrangement for the party.

It has therefore scheduled another meeting for next week.

The 44-member committee headed by the Enugu Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, met the state on Wednesday and Thursday to zone party as well as the National Working Committee (NWC) offices of the party.

The meeting ended at about 7p.m.on Thursday.

A source, who attended the closed-door meeting, told PREMIUM TIMES that the committee could not reach a consensus on the matter after hours of deliberation.

He said the committee has therefore scheduled another meeting for next week but did not exactly when the meeting will hold.

“No, we are yet to reach a conclusion. We will be meeting next week for another meeting and we will make our position public,” said the party chieftain, who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak.

Members of the committee at the meeting were Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, who is its deputy chairman, the deputy governor of Zamfara State, Aliyu Mohammed, who is also the secretary.

Other members attendance were former Senate Presidents, Pius Anyim and David Mark, former governors Babangida Aliyu, (Niger); Ayo Fayose (Ekiti); Attahiru Bafarawa (Sokoto); and Sule Lamido (Jigawa).

Abubakar Baraje, Kabiru Turaki, Sunday Okoye, Dan Orbih, Kema Chikwe, Osita Chidoka, Chidi Lloyd, Bassey Ewa Henshaw, Emmanuel Nwaka and Donatus Udeh were also at the meeting.

Earlier, while declaring the meeting open, Mr Ugwuanyi said the committee had no mandate to zone the presidential ticket but only the offices the NWC.

“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 or Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said,

The governor asked members to be frank, open and constructive in their proposals and debates, and also exhibit consistency with the enormity of their mandate.

He said: “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.”

The committee was constituted by the National Executive Committee of the opposition party at its 93rd meeting in Abuja on 9 September.

This newspaper had predicted the possibility of a stalemate at the meeting given the sensitivity of the zoning issue.

The PDP has slated its National Convention for October 30 and 31, and there has been a rigorous push from the southern and northern blocs of the party for the presidential ticket.

Going by the party’s tradition, if the position of the national chairman is zoned to the South, the presidential candidate will automatically emerge from the north.

According to the current formula fashioned in 2017, the south produced the national chairman, while the north produced the presidential candidate, former Vice President Abubakar, in the 2019 election.

If the position of national chairman is zoned to the South, there is a likelihood of micro-zoning the position since there are three zones in the region, namely south-west, south-east and south-south.