Ahead of the national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scheduled for October, there is a new twist in the leadership crisis rocking the party as some stakeholders are rooting for the next national chairman to come from the Northern part of the country.
According to World Africa findings, those behind the plot are also calling for the presidential ticket to be thrown open for all aspirants instead of zoning it to any section of the country.
Prior to now, the general belief was that another Southerner will replace Secondus with names like Chief Olabode George, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Eyitayo Jegede and Liyel Imoke being mentioned as frontrunners.
World Africa gathered that major stakeholders, especially former ministers and governors as well as some founding fathers of the party, are of the opinion that the party’s tradition in which all positions are rotated between the North and the South should be followed.
A credible source in the party disclosed that at a meeting held two weeks ago at the instance of former Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Kabiru Taminu Turaki (SAN), argument was canvassed for one of the founding fathers of the party to emerge as national chairman.
According to him, names of former governors of Jigawa and Kaduna states, Alhaji Sule Lamido and Senator Ahmed Markafi, were mentioned.
Others being considered are former Senate President David Mark and former governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo.
Speaking further, our source said that the normal tradition of the PDP is that at the end of four years, all National Working Committee (NWC) positions and deputies in the South will move to the North while those in the North will move to the South.
“That was the major ground for the opposition of the ambition of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff to return as chairman in 2016, as the Prof. Jerry Gana-led group of eminent PDP stakeholders insisted that the decision to choose him (Sheriff) as chairman of the party was in gross violation of established procedure for the selection.
“Remember that when the convention was to later hold in 2017, the normal thing was done, with positions in the North before the botched 2016 Port Harcourt convention moving to the South while those in the South moved to the North,” he said.
Giving insight as to which part of the country the party will zone its presidential ticket, one of those who attended the Taminu Turaki meeting in Abuja disclosed that it was most likely that the presidential ticket will be thrown open.
The PDP top shot said wherever the chairman comes from will not have any effect on the presidential ticket.
He added that “if for instance, the chairman comes from the North as it should naturally be, it will not stop anyone from the North from contesting for the presidential ticket.
“If you recall in 2007 when the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was President, Col. Ahmadu Ali was national chairman of the PDP while Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo was national chairman between May 2010 and January 2011 when Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was president.
“The thinking is that it is only after winning the presidential election that we can in all honesty and fairness begin to talk about the president coming from either North or South. And in the event that someone from the North picks the ticket and emerged president, the chairman from the North, who will by then has two and half years left, can be made to resign while someone from the South takes his position.
“It has happened in the party on two occasions when both the president and chairman were from the same zone.
“Most importantly, if the ticket is thrown open as we desired, someone from the South can as well pick it. So we should not disrupt things by jettisoning our tradition in 2021 because of presidential ticket for an election coming more than one year after.”
When contacted, a member of the party’s NEC said while he was aware of the plot, it will be difficult to do that since all the positions are zoned together.
He said the issue will be discussed at the next NEC meeting slated for September 9.
“All the positions are zoned together. It will be strange to do that. I believe that the next NEC meeting on September 9 will deal with that issue”.