The battle for various positions in the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has now begun with the inauguration of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) 2021 Convention committee. The party, in addition to the convention planning committee, met last week. It also established the zoning committee, which is chaired by Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
This has also increased the political power play and intrigues expected for positions in the party, which will now be based on zoning. The chairmanship is the most contentious position because it determines which zone produces the president.
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Mr. Uche Secondus, the former chairman, was removed because some members of the party, particularly those from the south, suspected him of harboring second-term ambitions at the behest of northern interests in order to deny the south the presidency, as the president and chairman must come from different regions.
According to the calculations, the party’s convention on October 30 would now have to deal with the zoning of the various positions in the party, particularly the chairmanship, which is now a source of contention.
Although it is said that the PDP must have zoned the presidency to the north based on feelers, there are indications that those interested in the south are opposing such a move.
This situation is already causing concern within the party, but those in favor of the North having the presidency in order to clinch appear to outnumber those in favor of the South.
Indeed, those vying for the presidency in the North and expressing an interest appear to be more visible and vocal than those in the South, particularly those from the South East and South-South. The prominent position being considered for the south is that of National Chairman, and the South West is heavily favored.
Former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ondo State, Barrister Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), former deputy governor of Bayelsa Rtd. Rear Admiral Gboribigha John Jonah, former Cross Rivers governor Liyel Imoke, Chief Olabode George, and former South-West Vice Chairman Eddy Olafeso.
All of these names have supporters, particularly among those seeking the presidency, who believe that whoever becomes the party’s Chairman will favor and enhance their chances.
Though the North appears to be favored, the zones in hot contention appear to be the North East and North West. Others from the South East and South-South were also present. Only the South West has expressed an interest.
Those rumored to be interested in the presidency in the South include Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, and former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi.
Those in the North West and North East have expressed serious interest in the perceived zoning to the north. However, this runs counter to the southern governors’ forum’s insistence that the presidency of the two parties be zoned to the south.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the North East, incumbent Bauchi State Governor Senator Bala Muhammed of the North East, former governors of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido and Saminu Turaki of the North West, and former governor of Kano State Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso of the zone are all in the running
Former Kwara state governor and former Senate President Senator Bukola Saraki is the only strong contender from the North Central region in the race. Because of the large wings involved, it is expected that the battle will be fierce.
The North would face an uphill battle because the party’s strongest electoral bases are in the South East and South-South.
PDP: A Party of Heavyweights
According to what happened in 2019, the PDP primary election was a straight battle among about ten heavyweights: Atiku, Saraki, Tambuwal, Dr. Musa Kwakwanso, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Ibrahim Shekarau, Attahiru Bafarawa Bala Muhammed and Saminu Turaki, and others, but the list may not be as long as it was in the 2019 Portharcout congress, which produced Atiku.
The irony is that these people were also prominent in the 2018 primaries, which is why political observers predicted that the October 30 congress for the presidency would be a repeat of 2018.
In the 2018 primaries, Atiku received 1,532 votes, Tambuwal received 693 votes, Saraki received 317 votes, and Turaki received 65 votes. Given the current situation, it is important to look at those in the race from the North East, North West, and North Central.