- The jostle for the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party has heightened in the last few days
- David Mark, a Benue-born politician and former President of the Senate, is one of the leading contenders in the race
- The 2019 presidential candidate of the party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has held a closed-door meeting with Mark
FCT, Abuja - Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has met with a leading contender in the national chairmanship race of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator David Mark.
The Nation newspaper reports that Atiku had a meeting with Mark between 9 pm and 10 pm on Monday, October 11.
It was learnt that Atiku has been in the vanguard of a crisis-free contest for chairman, but it could not be ascertained whether Atiku’s visit was an endorsement of Mark's reported aspiration.
A source in Atiku’s camp quoted in the report said:
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“The two leaders met for the sake of unity and progress of the party. The ex-vice president does not want to take sides. I think he is looking at the larger picture of 2023.
“We are all concerned about the politics of the national chairman, we do not want the party destabilized under any guise.
“Maybe the ex-VP is trying to see how the party can manage the micro-zoning in the North to keep the zone intact for the next elections.”
A member of the NWC who spoke on the condition of anonymity also said:
“We have heard of the talks between Atiku and Mark. I see Atiku’s visit to Mark as a tactical endorsement of the former President of the Senate.
“I think we are beginning to have a direction of where the chairmanship ticket will go.”
Presidency 2023: List of prominent PDP chieftains who reportedly want party's ticket open to all zones
The Punch newspaper had earlier reported that despite the widespread support for Mark for the position, Atiku and former Senate President, Bukola Saraki were still opposed to his emergence.
According to the report, most stakeholders including the PDP-Governors Forum and the Board of Trustees have endorsed Mark for the position but the two-party chieftains are said to prefer a candidate from the northwest.
Northern PDP leaders may adopt consensus candidate
Mark and a former Governor of Jigawa state, Alhaji Sule Lamido are said to be front-runners in the race for the position.
Also in the race are a former governor of Gombe state; Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo, former governor of Katsina; Ibrahim Shema and former governor of Kaduna state, Ahmed Makarfi among others.
PDP southern leaders bicker ahead of election
In a related development, another report indicates that a fresh crisis is brewing within the PDP following the decision of the leadership of the party to zone the national chairman position to northern Nigeria.
The decision to zone the office was made without clarifying whether the 2023 presidential ticket of the party would be zoned to the south or be thrown open.
According to the report, leaders and chieftains of the PDP in the southern zones are now at loggerheads over the development.