People often say that politics is a game of chance and it changes by the day. The race for the PDP top political position is the biggest trophy in the country and the north and south are in ditch battle to clinch it. But it has been a games of wits, which has left the party in flux.
The People’s Democratic Party, PDP, since it began the process of electing a new national executive through its convention, now fixed for October 31 following the ouster of its former national chairman, UcheSecoundus, has proved not only its resilience, but capacity and experience to weather its political storms.
It has been a Russian roulette as the odds and permutations have continued to rattles pundits. First, there was a strong rally from the north to save Secoundus alleged to be favourable to its position to retain the old zoning status in the party. When that failed the north insisted that nothing should change as the chairman should remain in the south.
Some Southwest candidates were thrown up by them to divide by the south. However, the Southern Governors’ Forum in their recent meetings insisted that power must return to the south despite their political differences, which seemed to have pulled the rug from the feet of the northern PDP, because the governors control the party and PDP has more governors in the south than the north.
The party had earlier set up a zoning committee to share and distribute the party offices, the most critical being the chairman, because the zone that has it automatically cedes the president to the other zone in terms of north and south.
The Governor Ugwuanyi committee, earlier allegedly deadlocked, after the north led by former Vice president, AtikuAkubabar led group, submitted a strong petition to committee, insisting on retention of the post in the north to ensure victory in 2023; but eventually recommended power shift to the south, which the National Executive Committee, NEC, on Thursday, adopted.
In-between, Dr. Baba Ahmed had released a bomb-shelled by attacking the SGF, and challenging them to stop the north from producing the next president if they could because democracy is a game of numbers and the north, which has it, will use its superior numbers to retain the presidency.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, who talked, about the decision of the NEC meeting, last Thursday said that based on the decision, all positions in the party currently occupied by the South will go to the North and those occupied the North will go to the South.
With this position by the NEC, the north seems to have split as only AtikuAbubakaar, remained unconvinced and declaring the position is still open to any interested person from any part of the country. This is really disappointing and unrealistic for a former presidential candidate of the party, as one zone can never produce both chairman and president.
According to Atiku, the geopolitical zone of the president is not the solution to the problems of the country.
“The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has the right to determine its rules and how the party should be governed. The people of Nigeria also have the rights to determine who governors them,” he said.
“Where the president comes from has never been the problem of Nigeria. I can cite examples — neither will it be the solution.”
Upholding the earlier position of the zoning and SGF, was the handiwork of Governors SeyiMakinde of Oyo State and NyesomWike of Rivers State, who outsmarted the PDP cabal, by persuading the south west candidates for the chairmanship to drop their ambition and keeping the south south together, respectively.
Since the last meeting of the PDP NEC meeting, it was learnt that Atiku, former Senate President, BukolaSaraki, Governor of Sokoto State AminuTambwal, former Jigawa State Governor, SuleLamido and others have been making underground moves to ensure that the presidential ticket is for all at the October 30 convention.
However, it seems over for the north as it was learnt at the weekend that major candidates are already emerging for the chairmanship position from the north.
Names, such as Senator Ahmed Makarfi, a former governor of Kaduna state and also former caretaker chair of the party during its post-election defeat and subsequent crisis; SuleLamido, former governor of Jigawa state and former foreign minister etc. both from northwest.
BusinessHallmark was reliable inform that ahead of the coming convention the Southern Governors are perfecting their plans and as such, have positioned the former Senate President David Mark for the National Chairman of the party come October 30, 2021, when the convention of the party would take place.
This moved was viewed by political observer as an action cooked up by the South and the Middle Belt to wrestle power completely from the Northern cabals who have for long been dictating the pace.
In his reaction, the former Jigawa State Governor SuleLamido, said that although he believes that zoning would heal old wounds, it must be done with caution.
“I believed that the mood of the polity be watched in deciding what to be done either to maintain or jettison the zoning arrangements in the PDP but one major factor to be considered for now, that the party had been out of power for eight years is the area with large votes, if the party wants to get back to power”.
But his position was immediately slammed by Wike and Makindewho argued that no particularly area in Nigeria could win election on its own without the support of other areas based on the constitution that the candidate with the most votes is declared the winner in the first round, as long as he gains at least 25% of the votes in two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 states.