Barely five weeks to the congresses and national convention of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, anxiety is mounting in the party over delay in the release of the zoning of offices for the National Executive Committee, NEC.
National chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff had two weeks ago inaugurated four committees that will superintend over the conduct of the congresses and national convention.
The committees are the National Convention Committee, Reconciliation Committee, Zoning Committee and the Finance Committee.
The National Convention Committee is headed by Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike as chairman, while Taraba State Governor Dairus Ishiaku is the deputy chairman and Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi is the secretary.
Similarly, the Reconciliation Committee has Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson as chairman and Senator Ibrahim Mantu as deputy chairman while the Finance Committee has Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo as chairman and Senator Godswill Akpabio as deputy chairman.
The Zoning Committee has Akwa-Ibom State Governor Emmanuel Udom as chairman and Barr. Kelechi Igwe is the secretary.
However, two weeks after the inauguration of the committees, members of the party are worried that the guidelines for the conduct of the primaries and national convention have not been made public.
Also, more worrisome to members of the party is the secrecy that surrounds the zoning of the offices that will be contested at the national convention.
Unlike previous pre-convention activities, the party has not commenced the sales of nomination forms for candidates for various offices that are to be contested from the ward to national level, including the juicy National Working Committee, NWC.
Some members of the party have been expressing concern over the silence from the zoning committee on what offices are zoned to the various zones.
Following the zoning of the 2019 presidential ticket of the party to the north, it is assumed that the position of the national chairman will automatically go to any of the three zones in the south.
The South-South zone has been touted as the zone to likely produce
the chairman of the party.
However, some leaders of the party have been muting the idea of allowing the north to produce the chairman of the party as part of strategies to rebuild and strengthen the party in the zone where it suffered its worst defeat in the 2015 general elections.
National Vice Chairman, South South, Dr Cairo Ojougboh told journalists at the PDP national secretariat shortly before the Rivers State rerun election that members of the party in the zone were ready to sacrifice the chairmanship to the north to attract more members into the party from the three zones in the north.
He declared that PDP is very solid in the South-South region where the party has swept almost all the elections since 1999 and does not need to produce the chairman of the party to win elections in the zone.
Similarly, members of the party from the South-West that initially
expressed interest in the chairmanship have already made a u-turn and expressed support for the north to produce the next chairman of the party.
The new position of the South-West PDP was contained in a position paper presented to the party national chairman, Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff, by the national vice chairman, South-West, Makanjuola Ogundipe, during a visit to the NWC by South-West PDP leaders.
The zone argued that taking the chairmanship slot away from the north would further alienate people from the zone from the party and give it the toga of a regional party.
“We say this because out of the five states‎ in the South-East, the PDP has three governors; we have five governors out of the six states in the South-South; in the South-West we have two governors.
“In the whole of the north we have only two governors. We need to
strengthen the north; if not, the PDP will be branded as a regional party if we go ahead to pick the national chairman from the south,” the paper noted.
Though the PDP leaders from the south did not expressly say who they would support for the position, our findings revealed that they are all rooting for Modu Sheriff to continue in office for the next four years to give him adequate time to consolidate on his rebuilding of the party.
Since the emergency of Modu Sheriff, he has given a new lease of life to the party and brought back beehive of activities to the party’s national secretariat.
He has also opened up space within the party for some critical stakeholders in the party like former governors, former federal and state lawmakers and other founding leaders of the party who were shut out of all activities of the party in the past few years.
The consensus amongst PDP leaders from the south for the north to produce the next chairman of the party did not go down well with some aging members of the party’s Board of Trustees, BoT, as they expressed fears that it might jeopardise the possibility of the north producing the presidential candidate of the party in 2019 as earlier agreed.
The position of the BoT was made public by the acting chairman of the board, Senator Jubrin Walid, who advised Senator Modu Sheriff to quit by May 21.
Nigerian Pilot gathered that the delay in the release of the zoning
arrangements by Governor Udom Emmanuel’s committee may not be unconnected to the clamour for the north to produce the chairman of the party.
According to our sources, if the party leaders eventually reach a consensus for the north to produce the chairman, there will be an agreement for the person to quit office in 2019 as soon as another northerner emerges as the presidential candidate and hand over to his deputy from the south.

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