PDP rolls out zoning formula for top political offices

VANGUARD Newspaper

ABUJA – PEOPLES Democratic Party, PDP, new national chairman is to emerge from the Northeast geopolitical zone next March under the zoning arrangement proposed by the national caucus of the party.
This came as 75 senators-elect yesterday endorsed Mark to lead the new Senate.

The zoning arrangement adopted by national leaders of the party sustains the present zoning arrangement of PDP with the particular exception of the offices of National Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation which are to be swapped between the Southeast and the Northeast.

The zoning of the office of the national chairman to the Northeast immediately spurred interest from some political heavyweights from the zone including the immediate former Governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Dr. Aliyu Modibo, and the incumbent national vice-chairman of the PDP (Northeast), Senator Paul Wampama.

Goje’s interest

There were speculations that the outgoing Governor of Gombe State was equally interested, but this could not be immediately confirmed. Goje, is the senator-elect for Gombe Central Senatorial district and the possibility of his abandoning his Senate seat for the office of national chairman of the ruling party was as at last night, hazy.

The zoning of the National Assembly positions was yesterday being welcomed by supporters of Senator David Mark who is bidding to retain his position as Senate President in the next Senate. As in the last Senate leadership contest in 2007, the zoning of the office of the Deputy Senate President to the Southeast also reinforced the collaboration between Mark and the incumbent Deputy Senate President for a fresh term next month.

75 senators-elect endorse Mark

Meanwhile, the prospects of Senator Mark returning to his position as Senate President were, Tuesday night boosted after 75 senators-elect at a meeting in the Abuja residence of Senator Zainab Kure endorsed Mark to lead the next Senate. Present at the meeting were serving senators and fresh senators-elect from across geopolitical lines.

The senators-elect who are being coordinated by some incumbent senators including senators Kure, Smart Adeyemi, Ehigie Uzamere, Ayogu Eze and Ahmad Lawan at the end of the meeting advised others eyeing the Senate seat to drop their bids for the purpose of sustaining the current stability of the sixth Senate.

Senator Smart Adeyemi, PDP, Kogi West confirming the surge in support for Mark said yesterday that the resolution of the 75 senators would make victory for Mark in the leadership election a foregone conclusion.
Senators Ahmad Lawan who is from Yobe, in the Northeast where the opposition to Mark first emerged concurred saying that it would be dangerous for the dominant PDP to harm the present stability of the Senate by presenting another candidate.

Senator-Elect Ifeanyi Okowa, PDP, Delta North, whilst also affirming the support of majority of the senators in Mark told Vanguard: “It is an open thing that we are behind Mark.”

The leadership battle in the House of Representatives was equally getting tough, yesterday, with more members reportedly eyeing more positions with the declaration of the PDP zoning formula. Mrs. Mulikat Akande-Adeola, from Oyo State has become the major contender against the aspiration of Rep. Mauriana Ajibola who is eyeing the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Ajibola’s main burden, it was learnt, is his alleged closeness to former President Olusegun Obasanjo which is counting against him. Meanwhile two frontline House members, Aminu Tambuwal and Farouk Lawan are angling for the position of Deputy Speaker of the House while Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and Leo Ogor are angling for the position of House Leader.

NEC to ratify zoning

The new zoning arrangement is to be presented to the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party for ratification in the immediate future.

With the development, the South East zone has lost its bid for the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Vanguard gathered that the zone’s bid for the office of Speaker was passionately canvassed at the national caucus by one of the stakeholders from the zone who pleaded that his people were rooting for the position because they believe that the country stands on tripod.

He was said to have pleaded that the zone be adequately rewarded for their unqualified support for the PDP during the recent elections.

A source told Vanguard: “He argued that in the ranking of political offices they want to see one of their own as being among the first four that wield enormous power in the country. They are not comfortable with the position of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation because they have been conditioned to believe that the SGF is a mere tea server in the federal cabinet.”

Niger State governor and chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, Dr. Babangida Aliyu had assured President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP national leadership led by the Acting National Chairman, Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed, that the governors were on the same page with them on the issue.

The well attended meeting had President Jonathan, Vice President Namadi Sambo the entire leadership of the National Assembly, PDP governors, members of the NWC in attendance.

The meeting was reported to have passed a vote of confidence on the Acting National chairman and members of the National Working Committee, NWC, and ratified their continued stay in office till March 2012 when they would complete their four year tenure.

The Acting National Chairman, Dr. Bello Mohammed was also commended for giving the party policy direction during the electioneering campaign and the general elections, even as the source said the NWC was mandated to urgently embark on consultations with all segments of the party and stakeholders to explain the rationale behind the new zoning arrangement.

Chukwumerije speaks
Meanwhile, Senator Uche Chukwumerije, PDP, Abia North, yesterday warned that it would be dangerous for the people of the South East if they are left out in very top political offices at the National Assembly and the yet to be constituted Federal Executive Council, FEC.

Chukwumerije said the people of the region desired the position of Senate President or Speaker of the House of Representatives as compensation for the support Jonathan got during the April 16 Presidential poll.

Addressing leaders of the Abia North senatorial district who paid him a courtesy visit in his Abuja office yesterday, Senator Chukwumerije noted that it would be against natural justice the zone to be sidelined when plum offices were being shared as he noted that geopolitical zones that performed less for the PDP were getting better positions.

Meanwhile, the All Progressive Grant Alliance, APGA, has said that President Goodluck Jonathan would be betraying the support he got from the Southeast if he endorsed the proposed zoning formula of political offices that denies the Southeast the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives.


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