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2023: Hope for Atiku, Saraki, Tambuwal, Kwankwaso as PDP moves to scrap zoning

PDP 2023 ELECTIONS

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PDP 2023 ZONING

By Kayode Oyero

There may be a beam of hope for popular politicians from the northern part of Nigeria who have shown interest to run for president in 2023 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party as the party says it may drop its zoning culture and throw the presidential primary open to all eligible members from all over the country.

PDP Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Abdullahi Ibrahim, on Friday, unequivocally said the leadership of the party was considering scrapping the idea of zoning for the 2023 Presidency.

Ibrahim, who spoke in an interview with Arise News monitored by The PUNCH, also said the PDP won’t wait for the All Progressives Congress before taking a decision on zoning or otherwise for the 2023 Presidency.

Northern PDP chieftains who have shown interest in getting the party’s 2023 presidential ticket include former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal; Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed; and ex-governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso. While some of them had yet to officially declare their presidential bid, there are strong indications they are eyeing the exalted seat in Aso Villa.

With just about one year to the 2023 presidential election and a few months to the party primaries, there has been intense pressure from the southern region of the country for power shift to the region from the north.

The 17 southern governors and socio-political groups including Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Pan Niger Delta Forum and the Middle Belt Forum had constantly insisted that power moved to the south in 2023 after the eight-year regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), who is from Katsina State.

The groups had declared that political parties that field northern presidential candidates won’t enjoy their support in the 2023 general elections.

Also, foremost Ijaw national leader, Chief Edwin Clark, recently urged northern presidential aspirants to reconsider their ambition to avoid “chaos” in the country.

Since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999 after the dark years of military despotism, power had swung between the North and the South.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo (Southerner from Ogun State) was in office from May 1999 to May 2007 on the platform of the PDP while the late Umaru Yar’Adua from Katsina State in Northern Nigeria, also on the platform of the PDP, had a short stint in Aso Rock from May 2007 until his death in May 2010 after battling with an ailment.

Upon his passing, he was succeeded by his deputy, Goodluck Jonathan, according to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The PDP chieftain and former governor of Bayelsa State from Southern Nigeria contested the 2011 presidential election and returned to office.

Jonathan was, however, kicked out in May 2015 when he lost his reelection bid to Katsina-born Buhari of the All Progressives Congress who has since been in power and would complete an eight-year term by May 2023.

In its history, the PDP has zoned four of its six presidential tickets to southerners since 1999 – two to Obasanjo in 1999 and 2003, and two to Jonathan in 2011 and 2015; while the two others have gone to northerners – Yar’Adua in 2007 and Atiku in 2019.

So far, southerners have been in office for a total number of 13 years while northerners would have spent 11 years in Aso Rock when Buhari completes his second term in May 2023.

PUNCH

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