Why PDP National Zoning Committee meeting ended in deadlock

Facts have emerged on why the meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) National Convention Committee on Zoning, held in Enugu, last Thursday, ended in a stalemate.

It would be recalled that the Chairman of the Committee and Governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, after the closed-door meeting, told newsmen that they adjourned to conclude this week, adding that “we had a fruitful meeting”.

Speaking further on what transpired at the meeting, a member of the committee, who does not want his name to be mentioned, disclosed that the adjournment of the meeting was because there was a sharp division among members of committee as they could not reach a definite decision on where the next national chairman of the party, currently occupied by the Southern part of the country, should emerge from during the October 30-31 National Convention.

Consequently, the member revealed that the committee adjourned till this week to consult further with other relevant stakeholders in the Party, especially the PDP Governors’ Forum and the Board of Trustees (BOT).

According to the member, while some members of the committee wanted the South to retain it with the hope that doing so will pave way for the

Presidential candidate of the party to come from the North, others canvassed that the North should produce the next national chairman in the spirit of the four-year rotational agreement in the party.

It was further revealed that two groups emerged from within and outside the zoning committee with both disagreeing on where the next national chairman should come from.

The first group, the ‘Maintain the Status Quo Group’, wanted all the party offices retained on the geographical side to which they presently are.

However, the second group, the ‘Move Around Group’, wanted all the positions presently in the South to be transferred to the North while the ones in the North should move southward. By the calculation of the ‘Maintain the Status Quo Group’, the chairmanship of the party will be retained in the South while the national secretary will move to the North.

However, the ‘Move Around Group’ wanted the next chairman of PDP to emerge from the North while the South produces the secretary. Also while the ‘Move Around Group’ believed that zoning the chairman’s position to the North will make the presidential ticket to be automatically zoned to the South, they continued to insist that the issue at hand now is party position and when the party gets to the point where it has to nominate the presidential flagbearer, the matter will be resolved.

However, the ‘Maintain the Status Quo Group’ believed that the zoning committee should also adopt the position of the Bala Mohammed Committee which reviewed the performance of the party in the 2019 general election. It wanted the

presidential ticket of the party thrown open for aspirants from all the six zones.

Former Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim led the ‘Move Around Group’ with the support of some elements in the South-South and SouthEast zones. The ‘Maintain the Status Quo Group’ is led by Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo and has the buy-in of key leaders of the party across South-West and the three zones in the North.

Earlier in his welcome address, Gov. Ugwuanyi clarified that the committee has no mandate to zone political offices such as president or vice president. The governor explained that “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”, stressing: “We have no mandate to zone political offices such as president or vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.

Gov. 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 included 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, Senators Iyorchia Ayu and 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.

Also in the meeting were Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, Rt. Hon. Sunday K. E Okoye, Chief Dan Orbih, Chief (Dr.) Ali Odefa, Amb. (Mrs.) Kema Chikwe, Chief Osita Chidoka, Chidi Lloyd, Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw, Senator Emmanuel Nwaka, Engr. Donatus Udeh, among others.

Meanwhile, ahead of the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) national convention slated for October 30, 6000 delegates will converge on Abuja to elect new National Working Committee (NWC) to pilot the affairs of the party.

This is even as Governors Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Udom Emmanuel of Akwa-Ibom and Darius Ishaku of Taraba

have emerged as chairmen of sub-committees. These developments emerged on Thursday during the inauguration of the party’s 15 sub-convention committees.

Disclosing this after the inauguration, the chairman of the national convention organising committee and Adamawa State governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, also said that the leadership tussle in the party has largely been addressed.

He said: “We are expecting over 6,000 delegates by our new constitution and we are fully prepared for that. We’re expecting everybody in every ward that is a delegate to attend the convention.

“We are moving on. I am the chairman of the convention committee and you can see that we are doing our work. Everybody is happy and participating. I don’t see any crisis in this party.”

On which provision of the party’s constitution is likely to be amended, Fintiri stressed the importance of allowing the committee to complete its job, saying, “I don’t want to preempt anybody’s job. The work is segmented into sub-committees. The constitution committee is working, and I will wait for the report to be submitted before I make any comment on it,” he added.

Meanwhile, Governor Wike has emerged as the Chairman of Special Duties Sub-Committee; Governor Emmanuel, Chairman of Constitutional Amendment and Governor Darius, Chairman of Contact and Mobilisation.

Other appointments as announced by Senator Duoye Diri include Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Mohammed Bello Adoke, Ifeanyi Okowa, and Solomon Arase as chairmen of zoning, screening, screening appeal, accreditation and security committees.

Others are Ahmadu Fintiri (electoral), Godwin Obaseki (publicity), Bala Mohammed (venue), Mariya Waziri (welfare and entertainment), Ibrahim Dankwambo (transportation), Biodun Olujimi (protocol), Nuhu (medical) and Ibrahim Tsauri (secretariat).

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