…. Presidential primaries may hold September
By Clifford Ndujihe & Dapo Akinrefon
The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are watching each other and playing mind games over the zoning of 2023 presidential ticket.
Sources told Vanguard, yesterday, that the PDP is not in a hurry to announce the zone it would cede its presidential ticket because it is too early to do so.
A source familiar with the workings of the PDP told Vanguard that the party is yet to make up its mind on the issue but added that both the PDP and APC are playing games.
The source said: “The party has not decided on zoning. The PDP is yet to fix a date to announce the zoning of the presidency. What I know is that both APC and PDP are playing games with themselves; both parties don’t want to announce where their presidential candidate will come from. If the PDP decides to field a strong northerner, then, the APC might be worried.”
PDP govs want to dictate process—Party leader
A PDP leader from the South, who spoke under anonymity, said the zoning of the presidency seems not to be having headway as the governors want to dictate the process.
“As regards the zoning of the presidency, there is confusion and all sorts of things. If things were not done the way they were done, it would not have been like this and there won’t be any problem. There is misunderstanding between PDP governors and the party’s managers because the governors want to dictate how things will be done in the party.”
Last week, the PDP said it would address the issue of zoning soon. With the national chairmanship zoned to the North, and now occupied by Senator Iyorchia Ayu, from the North-Central, pundits expect the PDP to zone the presidency to the South in line with established traditions of the party.
However, a top leader of the party told Vanguard: “We will address the issue of zoning. You know a similar issue came up over the chairmanship but one week to the national convention, the party zoned it to the North. Don’t rule out the same thing happening again. If we zone the presidency too early, the party may implode, and aggrieved people may leave the party.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has fixed the 2023 presidential poll for February 18. However, it said it would not release the election time-table until the 2021 Electoral Act Amendment Bill is passed into law.
President Buhari rejec-ted the first amend-ment bill before the federal lawmakers went on recess, last December.
Upon resumption, the lawmakers re-worked the bill and made indirect, direct or consensus as modes for political parties to choose their candidates instead of direct mode only. Currently, the bill is awaiting President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent.
However, political parties, going by past polls and current trends are expected to produce their candidates 150 -180 days before the presidential poll.
In essence, presidential primaries may be held between September and October.
To enable the would-be candidate have ample time for nationwide campaigns, the source told Vanguard that the PDP presidential primaries might be held in September and the party would decide on zoning a few days to the exercise.