The failure of the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to announce the zone that would produce the presidential standard-bearer in 2023 has pitched the leaders of the party against one another.
The Nation reports that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP has come under increasing pressure to declare its position on the zoning system.
It was gathered that more governors elected on the platform of the party are threatening to switch camps if the party leadership fails to show more commitment to zoning the presidential ticket to the southern region.
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state cited zoning problem for his recent defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The newspaper noted that sources said the national leadership of the PDP decided to talk to aggrieved chieftains after it became obvious that the various organs of the party might not be able to stop a mass defection if the issue of zoning was not addressed urgently.
Sequel to the Umahi move, the party immediately convened a meeting of its National Executive Committee (NEC) in Abuja.
Speaking at the end of the meeting, the chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum and Sokoto state governor, Aminu Tambuwal, said:
“All 15 of us are here present. This is a clear statement that we are united and working towards strengthening our party for the future.’
But in his efforts to downplay Umahi’s defection, Secondus described it as a ‘one-off’, adding that all other PDP governors were committed to staying in the party.
According to the newspaper, sources at the meeting said some governors, National Assembly members and other chieftains of the party, especially from the three southern zones, have openly expressed dissatisfaction at the failure of the NWC to openly confirm the PDP’s readiness to respect its zoning arrangement in 2023.
A source was quoted to have said:
“The NEC meeting was not as smooth and uneventful as the public was made to believe by the NWC. It was a very frank moment for us all as many of our chieftains from the south blamed the gale of defection rocking the party in the zone on the silence of PDP leadership on the zoning debate.
“Governors and legislators from the zone urged the leadership to take a categorical stand on the matter there and then at the meeting to forestall further defections. A number of them actually said they would leave the party if the ticket was not given to the south.”
It was also gathered that the NEC of the party rose without addressing the grievance of the complainants.
The source added:
“This development has further escalated the disaffections within the party as more members are now threatening to leave if the PDP leadership fails to publicly announce the zoning of its 2023 presidential ticket to the south.”