By Chuks Okocha, This Day Newspaper
As the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Committee for the zoning of offices in the National Working Committee (NWC) began sitting, new calculations have begun to emerge over which part of the country gets what office, amid highwire politics and intrigues.
This is even the more interesting, because of the likelihood that the Committee might not necessarily zone offices to States but zones and the office of the National Chairman specifically zoned to the three zones in the South: South-South, South-West and South-East.
However, for other offices of the NWC, indications showed that they might be left open as they were before the 2017 National convention of the party.
A top PDP source told THISDAY that the Committee headed by the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and others, has decided to be fair to any of the National chairmanship aspirant from the South by ensuring that the office was open to all to avoid any litigation against anyone that might claim his or her constitutional right has been abridged.
To this end, the source said, “It has been decided that the office of the National Chairman would be thrown open and by so doing, all interested persons from the South are free to contest.
“This is mainly for the National chairmanship position. But we intend to be slightly different in the approach for other offices of the NWC,” the source explained.
For instance, the source posited that in the office of the two Deputy Chairmen – South and North – they would not be micro-zoned to States, but also to the zones that had earlier produced them in the pre-2017 National convention.
Accordingly, the source said, “Under the circumstances, therefore, when it is zoned to the operating geopolitical zones, the stakeholders will then decide where and which of the States in the zone will produce what.”
THISDAY gathered that the party had considered this option to avoid any aggrieved person seeking legal action on the ground that he or she was stopped from re-contesting, because the present members of the NWC of the PDP have their constitutional right to seek re-election.
It is, however, expected that the entire work of the Governor Ugwuanyi’s Committee would be subject to the final ratification of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party.
Also, a former Senate President, David Mark, has been consistent that the PDP should allow the embattled National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus to complete his tenure as an elected National Chairman.
Secondus has already approached the Court of Appeal to seek an affirmation of his four years tenure, having been elected in December 2017 at a National convention in Abuja.
The PDP constitution in section 59 (3) stated that all offices of the NWC were guaranteed for four years and constitutionally allowed for reelection.
Meanwhile, leaders of PDP in the six States of the South-West have sent strong message to the leadership of the party on the need to zone the post of National Chairman to the zone in the forthcoming National convention.
It was learnt that the 44-member Zoning Committee led by Ugwuanyi has been faced with the difficult choice of whether the chairmanship should come from North or South, a decision that would also have implications on where the next Presidential candidate of the party would come from in the next election.
The South-West PDP leaders believed that the chairmanship should be zoned to them to compensate for the 2017 situation in which it was unjustly denied the slot after the post had been zoned to it.
They also mentioned that the denial of the zone the post of Chairman in 2017 led to its dwindling fortune in the zone as demonstrated by the 2017 poll results.
The South-West PDP leaders noted that, apart from Anambra, where a gubernatorial election would hold in November, the zone has two governorship polls pending in Ekiti and Osun States, before the 2023 general election and that, having the National chairmanship slot would help seal victory in the two States, and consequently shoring up the chances of the party in the 2023 general election.
South-West PDP leaders noted that the party now boasts of a united rank than at any other time in the recent past and that if given the chance, it would produce a viable, strong and popular consensus candidate, capable of uniting the party and leading it to victory in 2023.
Currently, PDP in the South-West has a Governor, Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and Senators from four of its six States – Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun.