All things being equal, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Convention committee on Zoning, headed by the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has scheduled to meet on Wednesday, where it is expected to critical decisions on the zoning of offices for the October 30 and 31 national conventions.
But from all indications, there are evident signs that the party might throw open its presidential ticket to all the six geopolitical zones since it might have resolved to keep its national chairmanship in the South.
Chairman of the National Convention Committee of the Party and Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, had last Thursday urged the Ugwuanyi committee to hasten up the zoning of the offices.
Newsmen, however, learnt last night that the zoning committee would meet Wednesday in Enugu and possibly come with the zoning of the offices of the National Working Committee.
This latest development, newsmen learnt, might have followed new calculations on the zoning of the office of the leadership of the party.
In the new thinking, however, the office of the national chairman might be zoned to the South as against micro-zoning it to any particular zone or state in the region.
Yet, other offices of the NWC might be left open as they were before the 2017 national convention of the party.
A top PDP source told newsmen that the Ugwuanyi committee has decided to be fair to any of the national chairmanship aspirants from the south by ensuring that the office was open to all to avoid any litigation from anyone over constitutional right.
That, nonetheless, the entire work of the Ugwuanyi committee would be subject to the final ratification of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party.
But sources have claimed that though there’s been clamour that the presidential ticket be specifically zone to the south in line with the agitation from the southern governors, the party might adopt the position of the Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, whose committee reviewed the outcome of the 2019 presidential election.
The Mohammed committee had recommended that on the basis of equity and fairness as well as the calibre of Nigerians believed to be capable of being the president, the ticket should be thrown open.
The committee had anchored its position on the fact that across the land, Nigeria boasts good hands capable of bailing the country “out of her current quagmire.”
Mohammed, therefore, said: “In line with certain unwritten conventions of the nation’s history, many people think that, for fairness and equity, the North-East and South-East geo-political zones that have had the shortest stints at the Presidency, should be given special consideration, in choosing the presidential flagbearer of the party, for the 2023 elections.
“While we admit that this is a strong argument, we should not lose sight of the fact that Nigeria is endowed with many capable and very experienced leaders in every part of the country. Moreover, the exigencies of the moment demand that nothing should be compromised in choosing the leader, with the attributes to disentangle the country from the present quagmire.
“Therefore, we think that every Nigerian, from every part of the country, should be given the opportunity to choose the best candidate, through a credible primary election; as a way of institutionalising a merit-based leadership recruitment process, for the country.”
Another party source told newsmen that in view of the clamour by the southern governors and indeed, the PDP governors, that it might not be out of place for the presidential ticket of the party to be thrown open, even if the national chairman of the party was from the south after the October 30 and 31 national conventions.
According to the source, “Water will always find its level and it is common knowledge that all the presidential aspirants that have indicated interest are from the north.
“The PDP as a political party cannot force any politician from the South to contest for the presidential ticket of the party. The politicians from the south have to come out and contest. No one can force the southern politicians to contest.
“So, this is one of the reasons why it had to be thrown open so that whoever is interested should come out and contest,” the source.
It also contended that the presidential ticket should be left to those who are interested, and not what would be forced on those who are not ready to do the job.
“Look at what is happening in the northern part of the country, many aspirants have indicated an interest in contesting, none so far from the Southeast. Even Peter Obi, who was a presidential running mate to Atiku Abubakar, as we talk, has not indicated interest.
“But check out the north, the number of those aspiring to contest are many. No one should force anyone to contest. We cannot force anyone, who is not prepared to come and be the PDP presidential candidate. You must work for it because we are looking for a willing presidential candidate, who has the capacity,” he stated.