2023: PDP govs set to meet Jonathan, Atiku, others over zoning

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Atiku and Jonathan

Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are set to embark on a series of consultative meetings with party stalwarts over the party’s contentious 2023 presidential ticket.

Some prominent party stalwarts they are set to meet are former President Goodluck Jonathan and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

Others are: Governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, former Kano State Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso, among others.

According to sources familiar with the matter, the proposed meetings were in response to growing agitations within the party ranks, especially in Southern Nigeria, over whether or not the presidential ticket would be zone.

Party stalwarts from the South are set to be unsatisfied with the PDP national leadership’s unsatisfactory handling of the matter, and the governors are set to wade in to forestall a crisis following the defection of Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi.

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The issue of zoning was said to have come to the front burner at a recent meeting in the immediate aftermath of Umahi’s defection. The governors were said to have flayed the manner the Prince Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee (NWC) and other party organs were handling the matter.

However, the governors are set to be divided along two blocs: one bloc supports the immediate tackling of the issue and the other believes that the issue should not address the matter but keep everyone guessing.

The Nation quoted an unnamed source as saying that “the meeting, an impromptu one, held after Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State left the party for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), was heated.

“Many of the state helmsmen blamed Umahi’s defection on the foot-dragging by the party on the zoning issue.

“They feared that more governors and other prominent PDP leaders, especially in the south, may leave the party. But many of their northern counterparts felt otherwise and cautioned against a decision yet on the matter.

“One major matter that came up at the meeting was that zoning the presidential ticket to a particular zone may also force some prominent chieftains with presidential ambitions out of the party.

“Thus, governors in this school of thought appreciated Secondus’ seeming lack of readiness to be categorical on the issue. Specifically, a northern governor cautioned against any move that would deny any party member the chance to seek the ticket.

“But pro-zoning governors insisted on the need for the PDP to respect its unwritten formula on rotational presidency, saying it is the turn of the south to rule the country come 2023.

“The governors parted without taking a decision on the matter at the meeting, and I can tell you that this has polarised the governors further.

“Party leaders and chieftains are worried about the development and not a few of our governors have been discussing it.”

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John is a University of Lagos-trained journalist who has read almost every novel written by Chinua Achebe, Jeffrey Archer and Dan Brown. He's an expert Scrabble and draughts player who is also excellent at swimming.
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