PDP adopts Ortom-committee’s report on zoning, throws open Presidential race, fixes May 28-29 for primary


Main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has concluded its 96th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Abuja with a decision to adopt the report of the Governor Samuel Ortom-led committee on zoning by throwing open the contest to all the 15 presidential aspirants.

Iyorchia Ayu, new National Chairman of the PDP

The PDP NEC meeting was held, Wednesday, at the party’s National Secretariat, Wadata Plaza, in Abuja.

The secretariat also hosted a meeting of the party’s National Caucus, Board of Trustees (BoT), aside National Executive Council (NEC) at separate times on Wednesday.

The party’s NEC also fixed the Presidential primary for the Eagle Square on May 28 and 29 following the conclusion of sale of forms and screening of aspirants.

PDP had pegged its Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms N41 million for each of the 17 aspirants already screened, 15 were cleared and two were disqualified.

Also, ahead of the primary to elect the party’s presidential candidate, the NEC appointed former President of the Senate, David Mark as Chairman of the Primary Committee.

Aspirants screened include ex-Vice President, Abubakar Atiku; former president of the senate, Bukola Saraki, Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum and current Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal; his Bauchi State counterpart, Senator Bala Mohammed and businessman, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, all from the North

Others are; Governors Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Emmanuel Udom, of Akwa Ibom states; former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi; his Ekiti State counterpart, Ayodele Fayose; Chief Sam Ohuabunwa; Dele Momodu; Olivia Tarela, who is the only female among them; Charles Okwudili, Chikwendu Kalu; and Cosmos Ndukwe, as well as, former senate president and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Dr Anyim Pius Anyim, all from the South of the country.

It would be recalled that the 37-menber Zoning Committee of the party headed by Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, concluded its sitting, Tuesday, April 5, 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.

National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, then said that an official announcement is yet to be made on the matter.

“There is a lot of process that must be fulfilled before any decision can be made public,” he said.