PDP chairman: North’s party leaders consensus plan shaky

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• Three geo-political zones pick different candidates … • Mark, Gana, Idris withdraw

The Northern Caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday failed to reach consensus on the choice of candidate for the PDP national chairman.The political leaders were on Wednesday night forced to abort a meeting scheduled to hold at the Bauchi State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja.

The aborted meeting was meant to harmonise the positions of the three zones regarding the choice of a consensus candidate for the chairman.The Northcentral had on Tuesday, picked a former Senate President, Dr Iyorchia Ayu as its consensus candidate while the Northwest is pushing a former Katsina Governor, Ibrahim Shema, for the job.

A former governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Dankwabo, and a federal lawmaker from Bauchi state, Abdu Ningi, are the two aspirants from the Northeast.Giving reasons why the meeting could not hold, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State, said that owing to communication gap, some of the leaders expected at the meeting did not show up.

He added that aspirants from the three geo-political zones in the North were still sticking to their resolve to contest for the position.Fintiri said the meeting had been rescheduled to hold today.

Ayu looks set to become national chairman, a source said yesterday. He may emerge the consensus choice, going by feelers within the new opposition party between Tuesday night and yesterday.It was learnt that the position was micro-zoned to Northcentral and further zoned within that geo-political area to Benue State.A meeting presided over on Tuesday night by Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom in Abuja led to the selection of Ayu after another former Senate President, David Mark, former minister Jerry Gana (from Niger), former Kogi State Governor Ibrahim Idris and Attah Idoko stepped out of the race.According to Ortom, the leaders of the zone picked Ayu because they believed he had the commitment and capacity to stabilise the PDP and lead the party to victory in the 2023 general elections.

The governor said the purpose of the meeting was to find a consensus candidate among the five aspirants who would be presented to a larger meeting of the entire Northern Caucus.Governor Ortom said: “We met here for several hours.Among the five persons that were contesting, the leadership of our party from the North Central unanimously agreed to sponsor former Senate President Dr Iyorchia Ayu, to be the national chairman of our party from the North Central.“There was no voting, we all agreed that he is the right person for this job at this time.Ortom however, clarified that with the choice of Ayu as consensus candidate of the Northcentral did not stop the other two geopolitical zones of Northeast and Northwest from presenting their own candidates.Mark and another former Senate President Dr Bukola Saraki attended the meeting.Also there were Gana; Idris; BoT chairman Walid Jibrin, among others.A party leader at the meeting said: “When we met at the Northcentral Caucus, there were arguments back and forth over who to choose between Mark and Ayu. But the clincher came from Ortom who asked Mark if he indicated interest in the office from the outset.

“It was obvious that Mark was playing the game at the national level and not at the zonal stage. Based on intelligence at his disposal, the trend of discussions at the caucus meeting and having not followed party procedures on his ambition, Mark decided to set aside his ambition. He said he was no longer interested.“The truth is that at the caucus meeting, Mark did not have the number to put his ambition through. Ortom and other leaders in Northcentral have sealed the deal for Ayu.“In the absence of no other rival from Benue State, Iyorchia Ayu emerged as the preferred candidate for the office.”It was gathered that another reason beyond the choice of Ayu was about the party’s ultimate decision on the presidential ticket.A NEC member said: “If at the end, we decide to zone the presidential ticket to the North, Ayu will be more amenable to prevail upon to step down for a Southern PDP chairmanship candidate than Mark.A former governor, who spoke in confidence, said Ayu was a product of a deal among PDP governors.

The source said: “Some PDP governors reached a deal to pick the next chairman from the North-Central and Ortom was made the arrowhead of the search.“From what played out on Tuesday night at Benue Governor’s Lodge, it was obvious that there had been an “accord concordiale” to concede the slot to Benue. You can see the results of the shuttles in and out of Makurdi by some PDP governors.Notwithstanding, a former Governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shema (North-West) and Ahmed Ningi (North-East) were still going ahead with their aspirations to lead PDP. Ningi was picked as candidate for the position by Northeast stakeholders last night.

Fayose’s camp takes on Makinde

A fresh crisis is brewing in the Southwest PDP between Governor Seyi Makinde’s camp and some leaders in Ayodele Fayose’s group.Fayose’s camp, which is alleging marginalization in power sharing in PDP South-West, has taken its case to the PDP Governors Forum.Another source added: “Apart from producing the National Vice Chairman(South-West) from Oyo State, Governor Seyi Makinde has unilaterally zoned the Deputy National Chairman(South) to Osun State; the National Publicity Secretary to Ogun State and the Deputy National Secretary to Ondo State. There was nowhere any South-West Caucus meeting was held to decide the micro-zoning. We have just been informed that he has penciled down ex-Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola for the office of the Deputy National Chairman (South).“The same Makinde allegedly handpicked five members of the Board of Trustees for the zone.

This is why Fayose’s group is angry and protesting to the PDP Governors Forum.”But a source privy to the PDP South-West politics said: “Makinde has not been unilateral at all in his action. As the leader of the PDP in the South-West, he has been mutually consulting party elders and past governors on how to ensure justice and fairness.“We don’t know exactly what Fayose wants. He cannot be talking of marginalisation when a process has not been concluded.”

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