By Wilfred Eya
There is growing anxiety in the ruling All Nigerian Peoples Congress(APC) and the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) over the continued silence on zoning of the presidential tickets even as the number of aspirants keeps increasing.
A highly placed member of the APC told Daily Sun in confidence that the issue of zoning has become an albatross in the necks of the two main parties as that could have far-reaching consequences for the party in the general elections.
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He said so far, none of the leaderships of the two parties has come out categorically to pronounce on the contentious issue.
It was learnt that with deadlines for the party primaries by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) fast approaching, the APC and PDP are digging in to outwit each other ahead of the presidential election.
Our source said before now, there were strong indications that the APC would zone its presidential ticket to the South after eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s second tenure in 2023 but is no more favourably disposed to that position owing to emerging political realities.
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He said the ruling party’s new position is in response to the PDP which has literally thrown the presidential race open to gain some political mileage over its main rival.
Initially, he said, all the APC presidential aspirants except the Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello were from the South with indications that the North wanted a Southerner to succeed President Buhari but all that seemed to have changed as more Northerners are joining the race.
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He said the situation in the PDP is worse as equal number of aspirants have obtained forms from both the North and South.
Meanwhile, there are indications that the INEC is under pressure to extend the deadline for the conduct of primaries by political parties by some weeks.
Section 29(1) of the new Electoral Act deals with the time frame within which political parties must submit their list of candidates before the general elections. It stipulates that parties must conduct primaries and submit their list of candidates at least 180 days before the general elections. Key political parties have fixed dates for the conduct of presidential primaries.