PDP Convention: Lamido, Mark, Aliyu, Makarfi, others intensify lobby for chairmanship

*As Northern caucus pushes for consensus

*Party commences sale of forms today

By Myke Uzendu, Abuja

Following the adoption by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)  last Thursday, of the report of the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuani Zoning Committee which zoned the nationa chairmanship poat of the party to the North, The AUTHORITY learnt that the northern caucus of the party has micro zoned the post to spiranta from the North-Central zone.

The party’s NEC last Thursday in adopting the Ugwuanyi-led committee’s report also approved that the north should produce the next Deputy National Chairman, Deputy National Secretary, Deputy Publicity Secretary  Deputy Financial Secretary, National Organising and Mobilisation Secretary, National Legal Adviser, Natiinal Youth Leader, Treasurer and Deputy Auditor while the rest of the portfolio were zoned to states in the southern parts of the country.

Some dissenting voices have however asked the caucus to look towards North-West arguing that the position has been dominated by the North-Central. 

They argued that the late Chief Solomon Lar, Engr. Barnabas Gemade, Chief Audu Ogbe, Gen. Ahmadu Ali and Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje had at various times occupied the position.

Those pushing for the position to be left at the North-Central are equally looking at the possibility of throwing up a presidential candidate from the North-East or North-Central if the race is thrown open.

However, as the national convention draws closer, it was learnt that two former senate presidents, Sen. David Mark and Iyocha Ayu, as well as the former Governor of Niger state, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, and his counterpart from Kaduna state, Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi have intensified lobby for the office.

Also reported to be strategizing to occupy the PDP plum seat are former Governors Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Ibrahim Idris (Kogi), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), including Prof. Jerry Gana (Niger, who was a former Chairman of Board of Trustee of the Party who decamped to the Social Democratic Party), and the out-going Deputy Chairman (North), Sen. Sulaiman Nazif (Bauchi) and Prince Olagunsoye Onyinlola a former National Secretary of the party.

As the battle rages, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, who is accused of abandoning the party after he lost the 2019 Presidential election just as he led a toxic splinter group (New PDP) against the party in 2015 and former Senate President, Zen. Bukola Saraki who was with him at the New PDP and later defected to the APC and later returned to PDP, are reportedly working to control the party structures to position him to emerge the party’s presidential candidate in 2023.

A source close to the party informed The AUTHORITY that the Northern caucus is working to ensure that candidates for the positions zoned to the North emerge through a consensus, so as to reduce rancour. 

The sources revealed that the Northern caucus had already constituted a 20-man committee with the mandate to collate three names from each of the Northern states for the positions where they were micro zoned so that consensus candidates can emerge.

Harping on the need to select candidates by consensus, the Governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Bala Mohammed told Journalists, Saturday that, “consensus is normally a process of democratic consultation because democracy is about consensus”. 

he added that ” accrimony in electoral processes can be reduced by having a converging point on an individual and that would have reduced the disparaging issues within the party.

“I did say we should have consensus candidates, but where we will not, we will not practice imposition”.

The Southern leaders on their part have also reportedly micro-zoned to the South-West the post of National Secretary and National Women Leader, while the South-East will produce the National Publicity Secretary, National Financial Secretary, and Deputy National Secretary just as the Deputy National Chairman (South) and National Auditor will emerge from the South-South zone.

Also, a former National Secretary of the PDP and former Governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola is tipped to be working hard to return as the National Secretary. 

Meanwhile, Chairman of the PDP National Convention Committee and the Governor of Adamawa State, Hon. Ahmadu Fintiri, on Saturday in Abuja after a meeting with members of his committee announced that sale of forms for the various offices will commence on Monday (today).

He said, “we felt that it is appropriate to tell you that the date for the convention stays and we are working for 30th and 31st November. 

“That has not changed and we don’t think there is any reason for it to be changed despite the fact that the zoning committee just concluded their job which was only approved by NEC on Thursday.

“We expect that sales of forms will commence on Monday (today), and we also expect that the Screening Committee should commence and conclude their work on or before the end of next (this) week so that those who are vying will go about and do their campaign”.

Gov. Fintiri said that it is too early in the day to discuss any consensus option for any office in the convention, even as he added that the party will adopt the consensus option if the need arises, since the constitution of the party approves the emergence of party officials through consensus.

“If the issue of consensus arises, it is captured in our constitution,” he added.

While pledging a free and fair convention, he said that the his committee is poised to organise an efficient and transparent national convention.

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