2023 PDP zoning deadlock: Gen. Gusau other retired Generals in fresh move to rescue party

…David Mark, Oyinlola penciled for national chair, BoT roles

The crisis trailing the job of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Zoning Committee led by the Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, will soon be resolved.

A party source privy to the deadlock at the Enugu meeting last week over the zoning arrangement being pushed by the Northern leaders of the party said all other things being equal, the final decision of the committee will be unveiled in Abuja this week. 

Investigation revealed that the zoning template of 2017, which zoned the national chairman and presidency between the North/South is what the PDP leaders in the North are scheming should be retained is what will ultimately be endorsed. 

Recall that about 28 leaders of the PDP from the North, who met last week in Abuja at the instance of former Police Affairs Minister, Adamu Waziri, canvassed for the retention of the 2017 zoning arrangement which produced Uche Secondus as its National Chairman from the South and ultimately, Atiku Abubakar from the North as its 2019 presidential candidate.

The PDP leaders from the North are billed to meet again meet tomorrow, Tuesday, in Abuja, ahead of the formal pronouncement by the Governor Ugwuanyi Committee. 

In attendance at the last meeting of the group were two former Senate Presidents, Sen. Gabriel Suswam, Babangida Aliyu, Attahiru Bafarawa and Sule Lamido, former governors of Benue, Niger, Sokoto and Jigawa States respectively. 

Also in attendance were former national chairman of the PDP, Kawu Baraje, former governor of Adamawa, Boni Haruna; former Minister of Special Duties and presidential aspirant, Tanimu Turaki; former woman leader, Hajia Inna Ciroma, amongst others. 

Checks revealed that the zoning template has the offices of the national chairman, deputy national chairman (South), national organising secretary, national treasurer, national legal adviser, national publicity secretary and national youth leader in the South-South, South-West and South-East geo-political zones. 

By virtue of the arrangement, the North currently holds the positions of Deputy National Chairman, National Secretary, National Financial Secretary, National Auditor, National Woman Leader and Deputy National Secretary respectively. 

The party source revealed that certain retired Generals who played strategic roles during the formative stage of the PDP prior to the 1999 election that produced former civilian president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo had infiltrated the ranks of the southern governors to convince them to moderate their position on the zoning of the 2023 presidency to the South. 

The source mentioned that, while the emergence of Chief Olagunsoye Oyinlola from South-West as national chairman in the convention slated for next month is a sealed deal, his colleague who is former Senate President, David Mark, is the anointed choice for the position of chairman Board of Trustees. 

Further checks revealed that the camp of retired generals in the PDP which has as arrowheads, Obasanjo and former military President, Ibrahim Babangida has since drafted former National Security Adviser, Gen. Aliyu Gusau (rtd), to shop for a presidential candidate. 

He is tasked with looking for a candidate that will appeal to the sentiment of the North and the Southern parts of the country ahead of the presidential convention of the PDP, which would come shortly after its October national convention. 

The source said the power bloc is not looking in the direction of any of the presidential aspirants from the North-West as its choice for the 2023 presidential race. 

The incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari, is from the North-West state of Katsina as the late President, Umar Yar’Adua. 

Aspirants in the race for the PDP presidential tickets are sitting Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal; former Kano State governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso; former vice president, Atiku Abubakar and incumbent governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, from North-West and North-East respectively. 

Also in the race is two-term Kwara State governor and former Senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki as well as former Minister of Special Duties to Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Taminu Turaki.  The Generals, according to the source, “are not looking in the direction of Atiku Abubakar”. 

Gen. Gusau, who was drafted to Port Harcourt to talk to the Northern delegates to deliver their votes to Atiku in 2018, will be the one to convince him to support the anointed choice”.

An investigation revealed that while the North-West is foreclosed in their permutation, the South-East, which produced the vice-presidential candidate, Peter Obi in the 2019 race, is equally likely to lose the slot to the South-South with Nyesom Wike and Ifeanyi Okowa, sitting governors of Rivers and Delta States, respectively as choices. 

“The South-East will take the slot of Senate President”, the source further revealed.

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