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Uncertainty for Southern Candidacy as PDP throws presidential ticket open

Indications emerged, last night that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has resolved to jettison zoning in deciding the nomination of its presidential candidate for the 2023 poll.

The 37-man zoning committee headed by Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, took the decision at a meeting held at the Benue State Government Lodge in Abuja.

Multiple sources privy to discussion at the meeting said the committee resolved: “(1)Zoning, as in our party constitution, is affirmed; (2) In spite of (1) above, ticket is thrown open this time around due to exigency of time. Our party is encouraged to always make the issue of zoning very clear at least six months before sales of forms. Our party should commend the efforts of some our contestants on the issue of consensus candidacy; the efforts should be seen to a peaceful and logical conclusion.”

Zoning has been causing ripples in the party since March 2021 when the committee on the review of the 2019 general elections headed by Bauchi State Governor recommended that it should be thrown open to all qualified aspirants. The PDP NEC at a meeting last Month set up a 37-man committee to resolve the issue.

Ortom, who refused to take questions nor disclose resolution of the panel said all members of the committee were unanimous in their decision.

“We’ve unanimously adopted a position that will be sent to the NEC of our party that appointed us. The good news for our teeming supporters of the PDP and Nigerians is that we have resolved and everyone of us, the 37 members unanimously adopted the position that we are going to present to NEC.”

As members of the committee emerged from the meeting, many of them from the South wore long faces while their counterparts from the North beamed with smiles.

With the decision of the panel to throw the contest open, the coast is now clear for all the presidential aspirants, who have obtained the PDP nomination forms to contest in the presidential primary scheduled for May 28 and 29.

However, it was not certain as at press time when the party’s NEC would meet to consider the report of the committee.

When contacted, the National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, said the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) was yet to receive the report. He explained that immediately it does, machinery would be put in place to convene NEC meeting to ratify report.

Those who have obtained nomination forms include Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike; Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation( SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim. Others are former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi; former senate president, Abubakar Bukola Saraki; Oliver Diana Teriela; Nwachukwu Anakwenze; Ovation Publisher, Dele Mohammed, Sam Ohuabunwa and Mohammed Hayatu-Deen.

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