[By VICTOR NZE]
Zoning Committee of the main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), may be set to dump its zoning arrangement, as it prepares to thrown open contest among the party’s 13 aspirants for the 2023 Presidential race.
The 37-menber Zoning Committee headed by Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, concluded its sitting, Tuesday, with no decision on toeing the earlier agreed decision of the party’s hierarchy to abide by its pre-existing zoning arrangement of allotting the 2023 Presidential ticket to the southern region of the country.
That arrangement is also in line with agitation by southern socio-cultural and political groups which had called for a boycott of any platform that fails to zone its presidential ticket to the south.
It was also in line with the position of the Southern Governors’ Forum which had maintained that the ticket should be zoned to the region.
However, addressing the media shortly after close of sitting, in Abuja, Governor Ortom refused to give details on the outcome or decision reached by his committee, further fueling speculations that the party may have dumped its pre-agreed zoning arrangement.
Ortom only disclosed that Committee members have reached a unanimous agreement on the matter.
He said a report will be forwarded to the National Executive Committee of the party.
The PDP zoning committee was inaugurated on March 24 by the National Working Committee following the controversies surrounding the party’s arrangement for the presidency ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The committee, which was tasked with the responsibility of ensuring fair distribution of the party’s elective offices across the country, is composed of Governors Darius Ishaku of Taraba State and Ifeanyi Ugwunanyi of Enugu State, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, former Governors, lawmakers and other party stalwarts.
Meanwhile, some chieftains of the PDP may have already given away the decision of the party on zoning, as they have welcomed the Committee’s option of dumping the zoning arrangement
Former national Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh and another party member, Emma ik Umeh, expressed satisfaction at the Ortom-led Committee’s decision to throw open the 2023 presidential ticket.
“Thank you our distinguished 37wise men. It is all over. Indeed you have chosen reasoning over sentiment, progress over personal ambition and party unity over the lure of monetary inducement.
The next campaign is to canvass for southeast consensus.
“Yes, we do not have the numbers, yes our members have chosen to be loud mouthed and aggressive instead of pursuing diplomatic engagements. But please look unto our 3 aspirants, consider their personal competence, capacity and merit. Do not visit the sins of the children on the Fathers. Our aspirants rank among the best.
“In the alternative the PDP should conduct an open debate for all the aspirants. Our best is good enough for the party and good enough for the nation.
“In the end, it is all about the PDP; the only true national party; the only party that is not personalised or appropriated by any cabal; the only party founded by the liberators of the nation from military hands and the party ready to emancipate us all from economic and security imbroglio,” Chief Metuh posted via his Facebook account
On his part, Emma ik Umeh, wrote via his twitter account (@emmaikumeh):” The @OfficialPDPNig
Committee on Zoning has decided to throw Presidency OPEN..
“Thank God, they have saved the party.”
Meanwhile, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, avoided confirming the development, as he said an official announcement is yet to be ma de on the matter.
“There is a lot of process that must be fulfilled before any decision can be made public,” he said.