Home » Headlines, Party Politics, Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) » Lull in PDP as presidential aspirants amass in Southeast AP

Lull in PDP as presidential aspirants amass in Southeast AP

Yemi Osinbajo PHOTO: Twitter

By Leo Sobechi, Deputy Politics Editor, Abuja

Nnamani Seeks Southeast/Southwest Understanding

Four recent events strengthened the belief that the 2023 Presidential ticket would be zoned to the Southern part of the country. They include the visit of northern caucus of All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers to the party’s national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; the quiet campaign by a group of northern politicians for Yemi Osinbajo to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, the zoning of the office of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national chairman to the north and the preparations for a Third Force to throw up a Southern candidate.

It was gathered that while the Southwest was being mindful of the dangers of crowding up the political space with numerous aspirants, the situation in Southeast belies the frenzied quest by the zone for a microzoning of the slot to the geopolitical zone.

How far the profusion of Presidential aspirants from Southeast would go to undermine the zone’s ability to clinch the APC ticket during the Presidential primary could be seen from the perspective of what happened to Southwest during the contest for the PDP national chairmanship in 2017.

Perhaps, this realisation may have informed Prof. Moghalu’s decision to cast anchor on ADC early enough, preparatory to the collapse of other fringe opposition parties.

And so, riding on the crest of the growing optimism that the Presidency would go South, the 2019 Presidential candidate of Young Progressives Party (YPP) and former Deputy Governor of Central Bank (CBN), Prof. Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, declared for the African Democratic Congress (ADC) as the likely platform for his 2023 Presidential chase.

Coming exactly seven days after the National Consultative Front (NCFront) held its National Political Summit at the Rockview Classic Hotel, Abuja, Moghalu’s declaration and affirmation of his April 2020 stated desire to contest the 2023 poll, reinforced public expectation that the next President after Buhari would be a person from Southern Nigeria.

The NCF had, in the course of its deliberations canvassed for mobilisation of Nigerian citizens to reject the two major parties, APC and PDP, even as they disclosed that plans were afoot for three or more parties out of the existing 18 recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to collapse into one.

Announcing his new political platform at Stonehedge Hotel, Abuja on October 8, 2021, Moghalu outlined his plans for a redesigned Nigeria economy. He said after months outside any political party, he discovered that he feels ideologically aligned with the ADC, stressing that since the party’s founding in 2005 to date, including the 2019 general elections, in which it fielded the late Obadiah Mailafia, ADC has remained consistent.

He said ADC has also remained committed to the emergence of true democracy in Nigeria and to the role of belief, passion and ideas in nation building, adding that “the party has shunned food-is-ready and divisive ethno-centric politics.”

Quiet Scramble In Southeast APC

However, as Moghalu stands on ADC, within the governing APC, there is a quiet rivalry among the Southeast states for the state to produce the possible Presidential standard bearer.

Ebonyi:

PROMINENT among the presidential aspirants is Ebonyi State governor, Chief David Nweze Umahi, whose defection to the party caused much national discussion, particularly as he accused his former party of sidelining Southeast in the calculations for the 2023 Presidency.

As governor and chairman of Southeast Governors’ Forum, Umahi’s aspiration is being bolstered by his control of the APC structure in the state as well as the purported plan by the party leaders to support a person not more than 60 years of age for the position of President.

The age factor seems to have doused the anticipation of supporters of Minister for Science and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnia Onu that their principal will run for the Presidency.

Enugu

ALTHOUGH Emperor Chris Baywood-Ibe emerged as an early bird to declare interest in the Presidency, two other contenders, including Senator Ken Nnamani and former governor Sullivan Chime, are said to have joined the race.

The aspiration of the three APC leaders characterized the horse trading over the post of state chairman of the party, because while Senator Nnamani was playing his cards close to his chest, Baywood-Ibe was said to be amenable to Adolphus Ude, even though the frontline philanthropist insists that he would work with whoever emerged as state chairman.

On his part, former governor Chime announced his preference for Group Captain Joe Orji, instead of his kinsman, Ugo Agballah, to brighten his (Chime’s) chances for the Presidency or the Senate. Chime was recently named as member of APC reconciliation panel, headed by Senator Abdullahi Adamu.

However, as a strong pillar of APC in Enugu State, Baywood-Ibe maintains that the position of Presidency is not reserved to governors or career politicians alone, stressing that his chances remain bright because his aspiration is propelled by the masses.

Imo

THE cat and mouse relationship between Governor Hope Uzodimma and former governor Rochas Okorocha is caused partly by the divergence of ambitions of the two Orlu-born politicians. While Okorocha has made his aspiration public, such that various groups have sprung up in the north to push his candidacy, Uzodimma is said to be waiting for the outcome of Anambra State governorship poll to disclose the direction of his political future, especially given that by the time the 2023 election holds, he would still have seven months left to serve out his term as governor.

THE general belief of a subsisting agreement that the Presidential ticket would be zoned to the Southwest is part of the steam fueling the groundswell of support for Tinubu’s ambition. That situation was said to have informed the visit of some northern lawmakers to Tinubu in London, while he was recuperating from a surgical procedure on his right knee.

However, while APC chieftains believe that the former Lagos State governor has the wherewithal to prosecute the Presidential contest, some influential northern politicians, who prefer a younger candidate, are said to be working for the emergence of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

However, while the Osinbajo option remains as a side attraction, the recent visit by former President Ken Nnamani to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, threw up concerns that the APC leader may not listen to any suggestion to jettison his Presidential aspiration again in 2023 after sacrificing same in 2011 and possible VP position in 2015.

Nnamani was said to have pleaded with Tinubu to see how he brings the Southeast on board in his calculations for the 2023 Presidency, stressing that he should bring his (Tinubu’s) famed political sagacity to bear in the efforts to strengthen APC and make the party retain the Presidency after President Buhari.

The former Senate President, who used the opportunity of presenting to Tinubu his book, ‘Standing Strong’, slated for public presentation next Thursday to discuss the imperatives of synergy between Southeast and Southwest APC, reminded Tinubu of his exploits in NADECO in the dying days of military rule.

In a statement by Tinubu’s media aide, Tunde Rahman, Nnamani was said to have stated: “You helped many times in stabilising the country. You assisted me a lot during my time as senate president and particularly in stopping the third term project of former President (Olusegun) Obasanjo.”

As Nigeria gets into the pre-election year 2022, it would be seen how far the contest between Southwest and Southeast to grab the APC Presidential ticket will go, particularly based on the national acceptability of the aspirants.

Nonetheless, with the verbal gymnastics by PDP leaders over zoning of the national chairman of the party visavis where the Presidential standard bearer would come from, it is left to be seen whether Governor Umahi’s declaration that PDP is not inclined to considering Southeast will come to pass.

-Guardian

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Posted by on Oct 18 2021. Filed under Headlines, Party Politics, Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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