PDP zoning formula and its presidential aspirants

From inception, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) adopted a zoning formula for all elective positions within the six geo political zones of the party, and it remains an important tool used in determining which area produces the party’s candidate in an election.
In this analysis, ABDULRAHMAN ZAKARIYAU takes a critical look at the party’s zoning formula and its 13 presidential aspirants.

The Concept of Zoning Interestingly, zoning is not mentioned in any part of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) constitution, but it all started during the creation of the party sometimes in August 1998, by members of diverse groups and organizations, especially the G-18 and G-34, who came together to oppose the regime of General Sani Abacha.
The party came in full-force at the death of Abacha in 1998 which in turn saw the end of the regime in the country.
However, in preparation for the election that later ushered in a democratically elected president, it zoned the Presidency to the South, and later micro zoned it to the South West significantly to appeal to the Yoruba people who allegedly won the annulled June 12, 1993 election and lost their son, Chief M.K.O Abiola the self acclaimed winner to the struggle.
Therefore, the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and the former Vice President were products of the PDP Zoning formula, so also was late President Umar Musa Yar’adua and his former Vice, who later became the President were all products of the zoning formula of the PDP.
Zoning became so popular to the extent that some even have considered the concept as being in Nigeria’s constitution.
As it was a factor that practically determined who the next President, Governor, Senator, Honourable Member, Speaker and even who the next Senate President among others will.
In all fairness to the party, the concept worked well for the party and the country, particularly because of our diversities in tribe and language What zoning cost the party The concept of zoning was naturally, as a result of the death of former President, late Umar Musa Yar’ Adua, discontinued.
The late President, who hails from the North West managed to spend 2 years in charged, before he was succeeded by a Southerner, from the South South extraction, Dr, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
Though, after a lot of controversies, but with the support of many Nigerians, Jonathan was given a fresh mandate in year 2010, therefore distorting the zoning arrangement.
However, many stalwarts in the party alleged that, it was based on arrangements of a single 4 years term, before power would returned to the North to complete their own zoning formula term.
Unfortunately for the party, the former President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan insisted on another 4 years to complete his 8 years tenure which is recognized by the constitution.
This, among others, was what ripped the party apart and cost the PDP many elective positions in Nigeria in the 2015 general elections.
In recent time and in an attempt to reorganize the party, the immediate past Caretaker Chairman of the PDP, former Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi reintroduced zoning, but this time without micro zoning.
It could be recall that, the PDP 2017 elective convention that produced the current National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP led by Prince Uche Secondus also created a crack within the party.
This is because, the party bigwigs in the South West like Chief Bode George and former Minister of Education, Professor Tune Adeniran amongst others felt the chairmanship position of the party should be micro-zoned to the South West.
The party has encouraged them (aspirants) to reach out to Nigerians and present their plans so that at the end, the one that will emerge the candidate will carry the others along.
PDP Zone Presidency to the North It was reported sometimes in 2016, that the Zoning Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party when submitting its report to the national had zoned Presidency to the North.
According to the chairman of the Committee and Governor of Ebonyi State, Mr.
Dave Umahi, who submitted the report, affirmed that “the presidential ticket of the party for 2019 is reserved for the North as approved by the National Convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on May 21.
The committees report also revealed that “the North will retain the seat of the Senate President while the SouthSouth will produce the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the national chairman of the party.
The positions of the deputy Senate President, was reserved for the South West.
Meanwhile, asides from producing the vice-president, the South East will also produce the national legal adviser, national treasurer and national youth leader.
The North will also produce the deputy Speaker, in addition to the President and Senate President.
North West with the highest number of aspirants The North West Zone has a total number of about 7 Presidential aspirants.
The aspirants are former governor of Jigawa, Alh Sule Lamido, former governor of Kano, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, former governor of Kaduna, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Dr.
Datti Baba Ahmed from Kaduna, former Governor of Sokoto state, Attahiru Bafarawa, governor of Sokoto, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and former Minister of Special Duties, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki who hails from Kebbi state.
Interestingly, most of these aspirants and some political analysts have argued that popular aspirants from this geo political zone we always stand a chance to win an election for a party, considering the population of voters in this zone.
The only civic right that the people of this region mostly performed voting, and currently, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) there are about 18,505,984 million voters in this area.
And considering the fact that, the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari who hails from the North West, Katsina State has is support base in this region, so most of this aspirants advance an argument that if the PDP Presidency is micro zoned to the North West the party stands a better chance to wrest power from the All Progressives Congress (APC).
One of the aspirants that have been promoting the idea of micro zoning to North West is former governor of Kano state, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
He said, “If you are selecting a candidate, you have to under this circumstances look at the geography, history and population of the country.
It is a common knowledge based on previous census that Kano State is the most populous state and North West is the most populous region in the country.
“The South South and South East are very solid in the PDP.
I believe that with what we will do in the North and what will come out in the South West, PDP will be victorious in the 2019 presidential election”, he said.
Former Kaduna state governor and the immediate past caretaker chairman of PDP, Senator Ahmed Makarfi disagreed with Kwankwaso, he said “that’s his personal view.
One can only try to understand what his reason could have been.
Makarfi revealed that “I have not discussed with him, but his reason may be because of the high voters’ registration and large turnout usually seen in these states.
But that is not the position of the party.
The position of the party is that the presidency is zoned to the 19 northern states and FCT.
So it is open to aspirants from the 19 northern states and FCT.
“So, whoever the party men and women find suitable from the zone as its presidential candidate, we will support him.
It happened before when we saw a presidential candidate come from a small state and he was widely accepted and supported”.
He added that “Kwankwaso is expressing his personal opinion.
It should not be construed to say that it is a right and the exclusive preserve of certain states.
I don’t think he could have meant that but for me the position of the party is very clear.
North East for Atiku and Dankwambo This is another zone in Nigeria that has the list, but aspirants that stand a better chance of gaining the PDP ticket for the 2019 Presidential election.
The aspirants are the former Vice President, Alh Atiku Abubakar and the incumbent governor of Come state, Ibrahim .
According to INEC the zone has 9,929,015 registered voters.
Atiku, speaking through the spokesman for the Atiku Campaign Organisation, Segun Sowunmi, sometimes ago said he was confident of emerging the PDP candidate in the primaries to be held later this month, since the PDP had not micro-zoned the Presidency to the NorthCentral, Atiku would not step down for anyone.
He said “ The business of zoning is a party matter, and the PDP, to the best of my knowledge, has not microzoned its Presidency.
It was only zoned to the North.
However, the former VicePresident has evolved beyond the candidacy of a tendency or even a zone.
“He is a pan-Nigeria candidate but we recognise that this country has become extremely divided and it takes a pan-Nigerian, who has a relationship with every part of this country to be able to bring the nation together.
This is one of the many reasons he is needed”, he added.
While the Gombe state governor, Ibrahim who spoke thorough, Director, Media & Strategic Communication, Dankwambo Presidential Campaign Organisation, Dr.
Ayoade Adewopo, said if such condition as micro zoning should be considered, “for the purpose of fairness, equitable distribution of power and to forge a formidable front in the 2019 presidential election, the North East zone deserves priority in that regard, not the North West, which has produced five out of the nine heads of states of the country from the North till date, while the North East has only produced one and that was over 50 years ago.
The North East is the most marginalized zone in Northern Nigeria.
“It is on record that the only leader ever produced from the North East zone was late Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the selfless and dedicated Prime Minister, who served the nation from 1960 to 1966 with all he had, including his dear life.
The North East zone and the country, by extension, is about to recover the loss, 52 years after Sir Tafawa Balawa’s demise, as another true son of the zone, Dr.
Ibrahim , the Executive Governor of Gombe State, has been trumped up for election as President of Nigeria on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Interestingly, the two aspirants seem to stand a better chance of picking the parties ticket.
In the case of Atiku, he his considered more experienced, with the political structure and wealth to put the APC in their toes, while Dankwambo on the others hand is considered a strong aspirant because of his age and immunity that will prevent the APC from using some of the state apparatus to chase after him Mark, Saraki and Jang battle for North Central Ahead of 2019 PDP’s Presidential aspirants it is either for the former Senate President, Senator David Bonaventure Mark who is from Benue state, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, from Kwara state and the for governor of Plateau state, Senator Jona Jang.
It was also made known by the INEC that there are 10,586,965 million registered voters in this region.
Advancing an argument in favour of the Zone, Saraki said “as a geopolitical zone, we have paid our dues.
It is the turn of our zone to lead Nigeria to stability.
We have gone through bad times.
The nation has become crises-ridden; the killings are uncalled for and the Benue valley is the worst hit.
There should be justice to every citizen, regardless of geographical location.
Democracy entails freedom or rights of the people.
Our rights should not be imprisoned.” According to him, Nigeria needs leaders who are capable of representing all interest groups, and not a section of the country.
On his part, the former Senate President, David Bonaventure Mark said, “I am an aspirant seeking for your support but if I do not get it I am still ready to support anybody that emerges as candidate.
We will struggle and get back power from the All Progressives People Congress (APC).
Power comes from God; I have never left PDP.
I will continue to be in PDP because it is the only party that can bring development in Nigeria.
Political analysts observed that the three aspirants will at a point reach an agreement to pick a consensus candidate from that zone that will effectively fight for the party’s ticket.
PDP will not Micro Zone – Ologbondiyan The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, disclosed this in reaction to a call by some aspirants, that the PDP should pick its presidential candidate from the North-West to stand a better chance of ousting All Progressives Congress, APC, from Aso Rock in 2019.
Ologbondiyan noted that “the leadership of the party would not stand in the way of delegates in the determination of the PDP flag bearer for the 2019 presidential election, noted that all aspirants would reach out to delegates to present their plans for Nigerians ahead of the polls.
He said: “Senator Kwankwaso said what in his opinion, represents the best option for the PDP but as a party that is democratic, there is no way we will shut out any aspirant because of where he comes from.
The party has encouraged them (aspirants) to reach out to Nigerians and present their plans so that at the end, the one that will emerge the candidate will carry the others along.
“I repeat, we are not going to shut anybody out of the presidential race because we believe each of these aspirants has what it takes to outperform President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC if given the opportunity to preside over the affairs of this nation, he said.


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