As the 2023 presidential election draws closer, the zoning of the 2023 presidential ticket remains an unresolved issue the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders have to contend with.
Members of the opposition party, key leaders, and governors within the party are reported to have started a series of meetings over which zone — North or South — would win the battle to get the party’s ticket.
According to TheNation, the multiple meetings of leaders and elders started with that of the National Caucus which took place in Abuja on the night of Monday, March 14, 2022.
The meeting was meant to harmonise the party’s position on the agenda for the National Executive Committee meeting where the zoning of the 2023 presidential ticket would be determined.
The National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu chairs the National Caucus, which has serving/former presidents, serving/former vice presidents, serving/former Senate presidents, and serving/former deputy Senate presidents as its members.
Serving PDP governors, serving principal officers in the National Assembly, chairman, and secretary of the BoT are also members.
Also, former principal officers of the National Assembly, former national chairmen and former chairmen of the Board of Trustees (BoT), and members of the National Working Committee (NWC) are included as members of the caucus.
However, the Nation reports that party sources have disclosed that there is a division within the party over the zoning of the presidential ticket.
While some of the stakeholders want zoning, others insist that the contest be thrown open to all interested aspirants.
A source, who spoke to the newspaper said, “As we speak, the party is divided over zoning. The division is not strictly on a North/South basis.
“For instance, PDP members in the National Assembly, most of who are southerners, do not want zoning. The majority of these federal lawmakers want an open contest, as some of the aspirants including former Senate President Bukola Saraki.
“It may also interest you that not all our governors from the South are in support of zoning the presidential ticket.
“The governors are also divided on zoning, just like the BoT, the National Caucus and even the NWC. There is no consensus on the matter for now.”
While the party is yet to decide on zoning, those nursing presidential ambitions have scaled up lobbying and consultations to have the presidential ticket zoned to their regions.
Already, southern governors elected on the platform of the party have joined forces with their counterpart in the All Progressives Congress (APC) to demand that the ticket be zoned to their region.
But northern PDP governors argued that the presidential ticket should be zoned to the north because the last PDP presidential candidate, former President Goodluck Jonathan came from the South.
They argued that by 2023 on the North/South rotation, the North would have done only 10 years to the South’s 14 years.
PDP’s Presidential aspirants from the North include Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal, Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and former Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Aspirants from the South include former Senate President Pius Ayim, Chief Sam Ohuanbunwa and veteran journalist Dele Momodu.