The Presidential candidates under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have disagreed on whether to adopt the zoning formula or pick one of the contestants as a consensus presidential flag bearer for the 2023 election.
This became obvious when the two blocs intensified consultations during the week, presenting their preferred options to convince the party stakeholders and lobbying to win converts to their sides which seem to be deepening divisions in the main opposition party.
In their desperate move to gain enough grounds, the aspirants have extended lobbying to the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), the National Assembly caucus, Ex- Ministers, and Party Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu.
Notable ones in the consensus option are four aspirants from the northern part of the country which include the former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal, and former banker, Alhaji Mohammed Hayatu-Deen.
While those demanding the zoning of the ticket of the party are mainly aspirants from the Southeast including former Senate President, Pius Anyim, former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi, an Industrialist, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa and a United States-based medical doctor, Nwachukwu Anakwenze.
In various engagements with stakeholders, the consensus group, led by Saraki, has continued to hinge their preference on the need to enthrone unity in the party, hence apparently, hope to get one of them adopted as the candidate.
Despite growing insinuations that the group might be pursuing a Northern agenda, based on the ethnic origin of its members, Sen. Saraki dismissed the insinuations, clarified that all the aspirants in the race were all from the North.
He added that the group will be expanded to accommodate aspirants from other zones. The pro-consensus candidates paid a visit to the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi from the South on Tuesday which created a mild drama.
Although has no base in the constitution, the zoning formula is mostly adopted to strengthen the federalism system in Nigeria, ensure unity and avoid marginalization of certain groups. As President Muhammadu Buhari is from the North, the pro-zoning hopefuls see it as their indisputable tune to produce Buhari’s successor.