TENSION IN PDP AS PARTY LEADERS MEET OVER ZONING TODAY

*Oyinlola’s camp kicks, demands reversal of zoning arrangement

*Atiku’s presidential ambition alive — NWC member

By Dirisu Yakubu, ABUJA

Ahead of its October 31st national elective convention, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, will today, hold an emergency National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting to ratify the recommendation of its zoning committee reached last week.

With all 13 governors elected on the platform of the party expected at the NEC Hall, venue of the meeting, the main opposition party will receive the report and recommendation of the Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi-led committee on zoning from the National Working Committee, NWC.

It would be recalled that last week, the 45-man committee recommended the swapping of leadership positions such that those currently being held by Southerners would go the way of Northerners and vice versa.

Since then, a number of developments had taken place, including the ceding of the national chairmanship position to the North Central and National Publicity Secretary office to the South-West, among others, in the next NWC.

Although, the Ugwuanyi-led committee merely recommended the swapping of the leadership positions between the North and South, Vanguard learnt that the NEC will not stand in the way of any consensus agreement reached by the three geo-political groupings in the South or North on any position zoned in their favour.

As a result, North Central is fated to produce the next chairman, having secured the buy-in of the North-East and the North-West.

Oyinlola’s camp kicks

Meanwhile, the camp of former Osun State governor and until recently, a frontline chairmanship aspirant, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, is not happy with the zoning arrangement as announced by the Ugwuanyi Committee.

Addressing the media in Abuja, the group made up largely of youths and women, had tough words for PDP governors, even as they threatened to quit if the issues raised were not addressed.

Spokesperson of the PDP youth groups, Obianuju Ogoko, said:  “In the wake of the thundering displeasure over the recent overbearing influence of PDP governors by party members, we, the PDP youths and ambassadors of good governance, have taken up the responsibility of speaking to the issues that currently bedevil our party.

“It would appear that the expected voices of our elders who should provide a firm direction in times of conflict have grown weary.’’

Atiku’s Presidential ambition alive — NWC member

A member of the outgoing National Working Committee told Vanguard in confidence that the 2023 Presidential ambition of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar was “alive”, despite the zoning of the national chairmanship office to the North.

According to him, the leadership of the party will be guided by the recommendation of the Bala Mohammed Committee on the 2023 Presidential election “when the time comes.”

His words: “Atiku and other Northerners interested in the ticket have nothing to worry about.  The PDP does its things its own way and often in the interest of all Nigerians. ‘‘

”Recall that when the party set up a committee to review its performance in the 2019 Presidential poll and recommend the way forward, that group of highly respected leaders chaired by the governor of Bauchi State, Senator Bala Mohammed, asked that the race be thrown open.

“Atiku is a democrat. Once the race is thrown open, it is his decision to participate again or not. So, I can tell you that the ambition is alive. He is not worried at all.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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