- The opposition party, PDP is in a state of dilemma as it is on the verge of going against its principal for individual ambition
- Some of the party stalwarts have kicked against the idea of an open contest, a step some of them described as highly consequential and untraditional
- Though the party has constituted a committee to wade into the matter as the majority of the party stalwarts are still rooting for the zoning policy
The road to the 2023 general election is fast becoming more anticipatory than ever as expectations are on the high side on who will be flying the flags of the major political parties at the presidential polls next year.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will be looking to topple the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) at the presidential polls next.
However, the opposition party is in a bit of a fix as to who will be will be the ultimate flag bearer of the party.
Vanguard newspaper reports that there are no clear indications on which method of selection the party will resort to. However, sources within the party have stated that there will be consequences if the party resorts to adopting an open contest option for selection.
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Meanwhile, the party is looking towards the option of zoning the presidential ticket, a norm that has been since the formation of the party in 1998.
Legit.ng gathered that in a bid to reach a conclusive resolution in exploring a favourable selection process, the party constituted a 37-man committee under the stewardship of Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state.
This committee is saddled with the responsibility of framing an option that will be explored by the party in its selection process for who will fly the flag of the party at the 2023 polls.
Speaking on the current situation, some of the top party members have urged the committee to tread carefully in its recommendation process and not to displace the existing norm of the party.
2023: Zoning is a tradition we must uphold – PDP stalwarts
One the source said:
"Some are saying there is no need for zoning, while some are saying there is a need for zoning. That is the heartbeat of the party. That is the major issue for the party to resolve. The constitution of our party is clear, Section 3, Page 5 states that zoning and rotation of elective positions are imperative. So, you cannot wish it away.
“For the party to be quiet is very dangerous, the party must make a statement, that is why this committee was set up and there is a representative from across the country. We have to properly organise otherwise this party will die. We will insist on due process.”
While speaking on the issues of zoning, the source said the idea of open-contest is not an option stating that the party will be going against its own principles and that it will not speak well of the party ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The source also said the idea of an open contest will only trigger a wrong signal within the party and spring forth disputes as the source made reference to the first republic in the early days of the post-colonial era.
The source said:
“In the First Republic, you had the majority having their way and the minorities remain onlookers and it created so much friction in the land. That friction led to the first coup, the civil war before the military came in. Is that what we want to go back to because we want to satisfy some few hands?
“These are serious issues. Do they want another Hausa/Fulani man to be at the saddle for another eight years to now make it 16 years?”
“Are we going to tell the south that we have brought in another northerner for president? It won’t work. It is an issue that must be handled well. If the northerners are not going to listen because they believe they are the only ones that can produce, then, let us go our separate ways. This is serious.”
Also reflecting on the issue, another source said the open-contest was imminent stating that those aspiring for the presidency had already purchased nomination forms.
The source went further to confirm the formation of a zoning committee stating that the outcome of their meeting will be central to the final decision of the party.
The source said:
“After the committee submits its report, the party will now take a position on zoning. For now, aspirants are collecting forms in anticipation that if it is zoned to the South-South, who will emerge if nobody has obtained forms. Aspirants are collecting forms in anticipation that the presidency will be zoned to their region.
“It is after the presidency is zoned that those who collected forms will sit and decide who to support. As you know, some politicians collect forms because they want to be participants or for negotiations. You cannot rule these out.”
Similarly, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, while stating his position on the situation revealed that the decision of the committee will be a guiding manual to the next line of action.
He also noted that the agitation for zoning will not be thrown under the carpet as the party will look into it and make a final decision that is best for that party and the people of Nigeria.
“Of course, the calls to zone here and there will be taken into consideration and a position will be taken that is good not just for PDP but for Nigeria at large.”
2023: Again PDP losses another top member
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) recently lost one of its top members ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Abba Kabir Yusuf, popularly known as Abba Gida-Gida, who contested the 2019 governorship election under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), defected to the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
He defected alongside Aminu Abdussalam Gwarzo, his running mate in the election, and many other members of the Kwankwasiyya Movement.
Kaduna senator dumps PDP, joins Kwankwaso in NNPP
Similarly, a former lawmaker who represented Kaduna north senatorial district at the Eighth Senate, Suleiman Hunkuyi, decamped from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Hunkuyi announced the new development in a letter to the chairman of his ward in the Kudan local government area of Kaduna state.
In the letter dated February 25, the former lawmaker said he has withdrawn his membership from the PDP.