From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja and Tony Osauzo, Benin
Crisis is brewing in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over zoning of offices for the October 30 national convention as stakeholders dissatisfied with the proposed zoning formula are warming up for a showdown with the party.
The PDP Zoning Committee headed by Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, had last Thursday, announced the zoning of the chairmanship of the party to the north.
The committee also disclosed that the North and South would swap all offices they currently occupy. The party National Executive Committee (NEC) is expected to ratify the zoning formula on Thursday, at a meeting in Abuja.
Daily Sun, however, gathered that ahead of the NEC meeting, me aggrieved members of the party, including current members of the National Working Committee were against the zoning formula.
A member of NEC, who does not want his name in print, told journalists at the weekend, that most of the NWC members see the zoning as a ploy by the governors to stop them from seeking reelection.
The PDP Governors Forum, in their earlier intervention in the party crisis, had mooted the idea of barring NWC members from seeking reelection in the forthcoming convention. However, the plan had not sailed through, as it was opposed in one of the NEC meeting held recently.
The source said the proposed zoning formula runs contrary to section 47(1) of the Constitution of the PDP, which allows elected officials to seek a second term, if they so desired.
According to Section 47(1) of the PDP constitution: “All National, Zonal, State, Local Government Area and Ward Officers of the party shall hold office for a term of four years and shall be eligible for re-election for another term and no more.”
The source said: “What the governors are trying to do is a serious breach of PDP’s constitution which guarantees the right to seek re-election for every serving member of the NWC. They raised this at one of the meetings of NEC, but it was seriously opposed and defeated. By suggesting that NWC positions currently held held by persons from the north be swapped for positions in the south, they have automatically prevented all serving NWC members from seeking re-election. For instance, what if the serving national chairman wants to seek re-election to the same position?”
Meanwhile, Edo State PDP stakeholders meeting called by Governor Godwin Obaseki for harmonisation ahead of the national convention slated to hold at the end of October 2021 is generating controversy.
The meeting was held last Saturday at Government House, Benin City, but some leaders of the party have openly disagreed with the meeting and its outcome.
Secretary of the party in the state, Hillary Otsu, had released a list of 233 selected leaders for the meeting, but several of those invited to attend were said to have been left out.
Otsu in a statement said a list was compiled by himself and the Secretary to Government, based on defined categories, but that the list which was circulated before the meeting did not represent the full list as compiled.
“Some names were left out, despite belonging to the categories of invitees that were identified. Essentially, the final list was not endorsed by me before it was circulated,” he said.
Consequently, it was learnt that some prominent leaders of the PDP, including the secretary, Chief Dan Orbih, and others did not attend the meeting.