The 94th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, rose in support of the governors of the party, and unanimously adopted the report of the National Convention Zoning Committee (NCZC), chaired by the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, which last week, zoned the national chairmanship of the party to the north.
By implications and standard practice in the PDP, the development might have further brightened the possibility of a southern presidential candidate, being the fallout of other zoning options that could be open to the party as it journeys to the 2023 elections.
The meeting also pulled a smart one, when it declined to consider a report by the Governor Bala Mohammed committee, which recommended throwing the presidential ticket open, but deferred the decision to yet another NEC meeting at a later date.
These, nonetheless, former Vice President and presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2019 general election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has lent support to the idea of open presidential ticket, insisting that the people should be allowed to decide who their presidential choice would be.
This is as the meeting of the Northern PDP stakeholders and their elected governors, last night, failed to reach an agreement on the micro-zoning of the office of the national chairman, because everyone wanted to take their chances at the opportunity.
In a related development, the suspended national chairman of PDP, Uche Secondus, said he was in court to stop an alleged blackmail, planned hijack, and plot to destroy PDP. His case is currently at the Court of Appeal.
Briefing newsmen after the NEC meeting, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the report of the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi committee was unanimously adopted.
Ologbondiyan maintained that the zoning committee was given the mandate to zone national offices to be contested by all PDP members at the party’s National Convention scheduled for October 30 and 31.
Though the decision was unanimous, it was gathered that Senator Abdul Ningi from Bauchi State and Shuiabu Oyedokun from Osun State spoke briefly against the zoning of the party’s leadership offices.
But Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde was said to have quickly countered Oyedokun, stating that anyone from the South-west, who spoke against the zoning arrangement was speaking for himself.
Another NEC member told press that most of the party’s stakeholders from the North could not present any strong opposition to the zoning, because some of them had started seeing themselves as national chairmanship candidates.
The NEC meeting mandated the stakeholders to meet at the zonal level and share the offices allocated to them and thereafter inform the party of the decisions reached.
But on the zoning of the presidential ticket, Ologbondiyan said the report was referred to another NEC meeting, where it would be decided.
Another source at the meeting said although the northern PDP members wanted to initiate a discussion around the Bala Mohammed committee report, knowing full well it would lead to discussing the presidential ticket, the meeting immediately shut it down and insisted it should be moved to the next NEC.
The NEC meeting had a large attendance.