Barring any changes, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may approve the report of the Governor Bala Mohammed Committee which advocated throwing open of its presidential to all zones in the country.
The committee, set up by the PDP to review the 2019 general elections had recommended that merit should be considered in choosing the next presidential candidate of the partyrather than zoning.
The Committee, in its recommendation submitted to the party leadership had 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.”
Speaking with Daily Independent, a former Minister and member of the PDP’s Board of Trustees (BoT) said there is grave danger if the party decides to zone its national chairmanship position to the North.
He argued that a northern national chairman can use his position to influence the emergence of a northern presidential candidate, thereby leaving the South with nothing.
“You are saying the Presidency is not zoned, it is thrown open and can be contested for at the convention, what if a northern national chairman uses his position to influence the emergence of a presidential candidate from the North?”.
” If that happens, the North will now get the Presidential candidate and national chairmanship position. They will then ask the national chairman to resign and then move it to the South. That is the danger that a lot of people are not seeing”.
“If the Northerners are so desperate to field a northern candidate, they can use that position to get the presidential candidate to emerge from the North. I believe what they want is to throw the presidential ticket open and not zone it to any region, even though that has not been ratified by NEC. I believe next week the NEC meeting will be called to ratify it”.
On the belief that some Southern governors have ditched former Osun state governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola and are now rooting for a northerner as national chairman, he said “Are you sure somebody in the North is not controlling them to sabotage themselves? Because a strong northern chairman can ensure that the presidential candidate emerges from the North. If that happens, then we are in trouble”.