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2023 Presidency: Zoning talks thicken in PDP

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh (Abuja), Uzoma Nzeagwu and Osiberoha Osibe (Awka)
25 March 2022   |   4:15 am
The race for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential ticket ahead of the 2023 general election has begun to gather momentum. Only yesterday, three more aspirants obtained their nomination forms in Abuja.

Presidency

• Anyim, Tambuwal, Mohammed pick nomination forms
• Consensus advocates reach out to Atiku
• Ayu: PDP has a history of rotating our offices
• Obi: I’m not seeking political position, but coming out to serve Nigerians

The race for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential ticket ahead of the 2023 general election has begun to gather momentum. Only yesterday, three more aspirants obtained their nomination forms in Abuja. The fourth made public, his aspiration.

Those who purchased their forms were Governors Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Sokoto State; Bala Mohammed, Bauchi State and former Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim.

Interestingly, none of these aspirants obtained the nomination forms in person. Different groups obtained their forms for them.

Tambuwal got his own form through a group called Concerned Nigerians for Tambuwal, which is led by Olumuyiwa Akinboro.

The Bauchi State governor got his through Bala Mohammed Vanguard, led by Mohammed Jibo, while Anyim collected his through the coalition of 350 groups, which is led by Comrade Mayor Samuel.

Receiving his nomination form at his Abuja residence, Governor Bala Mohammed described the moment as ‘auspicious’. He said he has been given encouragement to offer himself to serve.

“If given the opportunity, I will not let you down. I am not going to be President of a zone; I will be the President of Nigeria. The country has the resources and with the right leadership, we can become an important member of the global community,” Mohammed said.

MEANWHILE, after months of speculations, the Vice Presidential candidate of the party in the 2019 election, Peter Obi, has declared his interest to contest.

The former governor of Anambra State, who ran on the joint Atiku-Obi ticket, hinges his next move on the party’s decision, whether there would be power shift or not.

Accompanied by Senator Uche Ekwunife, representing Anambra Central Senatorial District and the former governorship candidate of PDP in Anambra, Oseloka Obaze; Mrs. Chidi Ekwueme-Onyemelukwe and Nigeria’s first female Professor of Mass Communications, Stella Okunna, Obi said he was not seeking political position, but coming out to serve and work for progress, security and improve lives of Nigerians.

He noted that his decision to consult the traditional rulers and community leaders was because they represent the grassroots.

“After careful study of the country, Nigeria today is at the lowest ebb, we are divided. I believe in Nigeria, I will work for peace, security of life and property. Nigeria needs security to attract local and foreign investors. I will manage the nation’s resource effectively, invest in education and pull people out of poverty through job creation for the youth.

IN a related development, governors and leaders of the party advocating the consensus option to pick the presidential candidate have intensified efforts in that direction.

The consensus advocates, former Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki, governors Tambuwal of Sokoto and Mohammed of Bauchi, rose from a meeting in the Abuja residence of Saraki and resolved to extend the discussion to all other aspirants including former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

Saraki, who spoke to journalists after the meeting yesterday, disclosed that the essence is to ensure unity among aspirants in the best interest of the party ahead of the 2023 election.

According to Saraki, “this is an ongoing process. And the more we meet, the more we continue to share our views about the importance of the unity of our party, because we believe it is only PDP that has really the solutions to help us get out of the problem we have in this country today.”

He dismissed insinuation that the consensus talk is a gang-up against Atiku; the former Senate President disclosed that a meeting is being arranged with Atiku on the matter of consensus.

On the decision to expand the talk about consensus to other aspirants, Saraki said: “And it is important as stakeholders as key leaders of this party, that we’re seen to be united. One of the decisions taken today is to reach out to other aspirants. We’ve already, of course, identified senior leaders of the party; include Waziri, and other leaders across the country.”

ALSO yesterday, the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, inaugurated the 37-member committee on zoning and charged the members to ensure that a good job is done in ensuring that offices are properly zoned.

The committee is saddled with the responsibilities of allocating positions such as, Senate President, Speaker of House of Representatives, and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and other leadership positions in the two chambers of the National Assembly among the six geopolitical zones.

Ayu said, “PDP has a history of rotating our offices. Anybody who doesn’t get it this time should wait till after the tenure of whoever will be our next president.

“We believe PDP is going to produce the next President once we start this journey this time. We will ensure it goes round. And it will go round with justice, fairness and the interests of Nigeria,” Ayu said.

Charging the committee to do a good job, Ayu said: “I therefore implore you never to lose sight of the bigger picture of the bigger objective. And that big sight is to maintain our unity, which carried us through the last convention. So that at the end of May, we shall present a PDP presidential candidate Nigerians will be proud of. We will go to elections and win. ”

MEANWHILE, Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, has emerged chairman of the 37-member zoning committee. Minority leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, is the vice chairman of the committee. The committee’s secretary is Emmanuel Ekpe.

In compliance with the directive of its National Executive Committee (NEC), the PDP had on Tuesday released names of 37 persons to serve in the committee that will determine suitable zoning formula for the 2023 presidential election.