Forces that may derail PDP would ensure it boxes itself into tight corner
OpenLife Nigeria has gathered that the People Democratic Party, PDP, outside internal wrangling, may yet again have to contend with inconsistency in policy as the country gravitates towards 2023 general election.
The opposition party, led by its national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, in its determination to smoothen all the rough edges of its strategic moves to win 2023 presidency, had up a committee to review and recommend as well as reconcile all issues arising from the abysmal failure of the party in the 2019 general elections.
The committee was headed by the Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed. Other members of the committee were the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, former governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, former senator, Stella Omu and Emmanuel Agbo, who served as secretary.
Incidentally, one of the recommendations, which keen observers see as forces that would derail the party’s prospects in 2023, was that the party should allow all aspirants from all parts of the country to contest for its 2023 presidential ticket.
The committee, which submitted its report to the leadership of the party on Wednesday, said though many people think special consideration should be given to the North East and South East geo-political zones for the sake of fairness and equity; merit, rather than zonal consideration, should be adopted in the choice of the party’s presidential flag bearer.
It said the two zones have had the shortest stints at the Presidency.
“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 flag bearer of the party for the 2023 elections,” Mr Mohammed said.
Continuing, he stated that “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,” the Bauchi governor led committee recommended.
The recommendation which OpenLife learnt would be adopted wholesale by the party has caused serious tension across borders.
Speaking with OpenLife, a South East Senator on the platform of the PDP said
“We have always known Uche Secondus would sell out the party. He is the architect of the recommendation of no zoning. He knows very well that the East are agitating for the Presidential ticket. Yet this is the time it dawned on him to obliterate zoning just. He has been bought over, no doubt,” the Senator fumed.
Meanwhile, stakeholders are of the view that the committee’s recommendation, if adopted, would dash the hope of some of the members of the opposition party who had canvassed the zoning of the presidency exclusively to the south.
Last year, the governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, dumped the PDP for the ruling All Progressive Party (APC), because, according to him, the party had no plan to zone the position to the South East.
Besides, many party loyalists are wondering what would have changed between August 2020 and March 2021 against the backdrop that PDP leaders had vehemently opposed a suggestion by Mamma Daura, President Buhari’s nephew that zoning should be discarded.
At that time, Mallam Mamman Daura, said that there was no need for zoning of presidential ticket to any part of the country, adding that competence should be given priority in the choice of presidential candidate in 2023. He staid this in an Hausa BBC interview without mentioning a particular party.
Reacting at that time, the PDP Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Diran Odeyemi, said Daura’s opinion or call is not binding on the party.
“It is his personal opinion and it is not binding on the PDP as a party.
“The PDP is an organised party which appreciates zoning.
“So, at the appropriate time, we shall come up with our zoning formula which will define where the national chairman will come from and where our presidential candidate will come from,” PDP hit back at Daura.
But to the surprise of many, how the party came about the non zoning recommendation which it rejected few months ago remains to be unveiled in the days ahead.