2023 president: APC, PDP weigh options on zoning

The two major political parties are grappling with the headache of where to zone the presidential ticket in next year’s election.

There has been no direction yet on where the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will pick their candidates.

The lack of agreement about zoning in the PDP is underscored by the declaration of presidential aspirations by Southeast and Southsouth chieftains – Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, former Senate President Pius Ayim and veteran journalist Dele Momodu.

Anyim, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, has maintained that whether the ticket is zoned to a particular region or not, he will contest for president.

Besides the trio, likely presidential aspirants from the North include former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed and his Sokoto State counterpart, Aminu Tambuwal.

Sources said Southern Governors – Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), may be interested in being running mates.

A party source said many PDP chieftains were disposed to the choice of a presidential standard-bearer from the North.

According to the source, it is expected that after the emergence of the candidate from the North, the National Chairman, Dr. Iyocha Ayu, who is also from the North, is expected to resign.

This is because both the presidential candidate and national chairman cannot come from the North at the same time.

However, National Publicity Secretary Debo Ologunagba, insisted that the party has not zoned its 2023 presidential ticket.

Ologunagba said on phone: “As I speak with you, the PDP has not zoned its 2023 presidential ticket.

“We are going to make wide consultations with all stakeholders before we take any decision on the matter.

“I can assure you that our position on zoning will be made public the moment we take the decision.”

Last week, former Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu said PDP will zone its ticket to the North.

He was, however, not specific about whether the Northwest, Northcentral or Northeast will fill the slot.

In the APC, there is no consensus about which zone should produce the candidate.

Two stalwarts from the South, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu (Southwest) and Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi (Southeast), have declared interest.

Also, Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello (Northcentral), has thrown his hat into the ring.

The APC National Caretaker Committee said zoning for elective offices has never been accorded recognition by the party.

Its Secretary, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, said zoning of party positions was not part of its mandate.

He said: “I have the mandate to report whatever decision the CECPC takes and to the best of my knowledge, the committee has not discussed zoning.

“People are just flying what will favour their interests.

“All I know is that the caretaker committee has not discussed or reached a zoning decision.”

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