2023 Presidential Election: Powerful Governors In PDP Disagree Over No-Zoning Report, Says Bala Mohammed Had A Hidden Agenda
State governors governed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seem to be at odds over the report of the Bala Mohammed-led committee, which recommended that the party’s presidential ticket for 2023 be made an open competition.
The committee was given the task of looking into the party’s defeat in the 2019 elections.
However, its suggestion that aspirants from all six geopolitical zones in the country be free to run for the party’s presidential ticket ahead of the 2023 election did not sit well with some of the party’s most powerful governors.
Some governors believe Bala Mohammed had a hidden agenda when he called for the cancellation of zoning after the South East was led to believe it was its turn to nominate a presidential candidate in the upcoming elections.
The recommendation had sparked a storm of protests in some quarters, especially in the South East.
Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, was forced to release a statement saying that the recommendation had yet to be debated and accepted by the party’s hierarchy.
However, Ologbondiyan’s comment has failed to assuage the feelings of some members.
Yesterday, reliable party sources said that the schism caused by the recommendation was getting worse by the day.
“Many governors are unhappy with the Bauchi governor’s decision to submit the report and also make the report’s resolutions public,” one source said.
“This is because the governors were already debating the topic prior to the report’s submission.
In terms of the party’s 2023 presidential ticket, the governors couldn’t agree about what the party could do with zoning.
“On the recommendation, even some members of the committee disagree with Governor Mohammed.”
Other members of the committee included the party’s deputy national secretary, Emmanuel Agbo, who also serves as the panel’s secretary; Sule Lamido and Tanimu Turaki, both from the North West; and Yakubu Dogara and Alhasan Muhammadu, both from the North East.
Babangida Aliyu and Istafanus Gyang (North Central), Francis Nwaifuru and Austin Nnamani (South East), and Austin Okpara and Stella Omu (South South) were the remaining candidates.
According to information obtained, the committee report does not have the support of a majority of the committee members.
“It is incorrect for Governor Mohammed to have submitted the report because that was not the stance of all members of the committee,” one of the disgruntled panelists said.
“At the time of the report’s submission and public release, committee members’ views on the critical issue of zoning and the presidential ticket for 2023 were still deeply divided.
I want you to go around to the committee members and ask them if we really accepted that the PDP presidential ticket should be available in 2023. We never got around to it.
“The only thing I know is that as we reach 2023, some members publicly shared the need for the party to respect zoning while others want the party to understand current political factors.
“At no point during the meeting did the committee agree that zoning should be abolished. However, it was clear from the start that the committee was motivated by outside forces.”
According to sources, some governors, especially those from the south, accused Prince Uche Secondus, the chairman of the committee and the party’s national chairman, of using the report to improve former Vice President Abubakar Atiku’s chances in 2023.
Another source said, “A governor from the south has publicly accused Governor Mohammed and Prince Secondus of using the study to favor Atiku.”
“The governor said that the committee report he received from his state’s representative differed from what Mohammed proposed to Secondus.
The governor also reported that the PDP Governors’ Forum had learned of the report’s presentation and, after receiving objections from some governors, urged the committee to refrain from making it public.
“He said that the national chairman insisted on the report’s presentation continuing. We assume the committee is being used to accomplish a predetermined aim.
“The report is the parochial view of a few members as encouraged by a partial arbiter, not the position of the committee as constituted,” our source said.
The Nation also learned that PDP governors from the south are expected to meet soon to discuss the situation.
Some southern governors, according to reports, are enraged that their northern counterparts are tacitly endorsing efforts to abandon the zoning concept ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
They have also reportedly raised fears that the party’s national leadership is favoring anti-zoning gladiators over those who support the zoning plan.
“Dissatisfaction with the study is rising, threatening its relative peace,” a source said. The problem of zoning is critical, and we are worried that some people are playing silly games with it.
“The PDP’s leadership has stated repeatedly that the party will not make zoning decisions just yet. The Mohammed study, on the other hand, was used to recommend a decision through the back door.
“Governors from the southern states, as well as other stakeholders from the region, will not tolerate such antics.
Efforts are being made to mobilize interested party leaders so that the matter can be resolved as soon as possible. I’m aware that the governors are also planning a meeting to discuss the issue.
“While some of them have voiced their opposition to the draft, others are awaiting a formal meeting to express their views.”
When presenting the committee’s report in Abuja, Mohammed claimed that the current circumstances demand that nothing be sacrificed in the selection of a leader with the qualities required to reposition the country.
“As a result, we believe that every Nigerian, from every part of the country, should be given the opportunity to choose the best candidate for the country through a credible primary election as a way of institutionalizing a merit-based leadership recruitment process,” he said.
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