Ahead of the 2023 general elections, hope appears dimmed for presidential aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who are from the Northern part of the country, as clamour for power shift to the South continues to gain traction.
Northern PDP aspirants, who have so far indicated interest in the race are Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President and the party’s presidential candidate in the 2019 general elections; Bukola Saraki, immediate past Senate President; Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State.
Prior to now, there has been strong clamour by certain stakeholders in the PDP that the presidential ticket should be zoned to the North in 2023.
Those canvassing for this had argued that the South spent 13 years out of the 16 years PDP was in power.
They also claimed that the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari, a Northerner, is completing eight years in office on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has nothing to do with how the PDP manages its affairs.
According to them, former President Olusegun Obasanjo spent eight years from 1999 to 2007.
His successor, the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua spent just three years before his demise while Goodluck Jonathan spent five years in office.
However, a new twist was added when the 17 governors in the Southern part of the country under the aegis of Southern Nigeria Governors’ Forum from the APC, PDP and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) issued a communiqué that the presidency must shift to the South in 2023.
It was also gathered that retired generals, many of whom played a prominent role in the formation of the PDP, are not disposed to the idea of the North retaining power in 2023 for the sake of the country’s unity.
Speaking with Daily Independent, a serving senator from the North-Central said while it is unclear whether the PDP will zone the presidential ticket to any particular region or throw it open, the general impression among stakeholders in the party is that the South should be considered.
According to him, the clamour for the ticket going to the North ended when Uche Secondus, the immediate past national chairman of the party, was booted out of office.
“If you look at recent happenings in the PDP, nobody is really talking about zoning the ticket to the North again.
“That clamour was strong under the former NWC led by Secondus.He wanted to do second term and since he is from the South, he knows both the presidential candidate and national chairman can’t come from the same region”.
“Now all that has ended since his exit and a new national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, who is from the North-Central has come on board”.