BARELY 48 hours after the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi-led Zoning Committee unveiled its zoning arrangement ahead of the October convention of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) to put a set of national officers at the national secretariat, indication has emerged that certain chieftains of the party from the Northern part of the country have since commenced consultations for the office of national chairman.
Sunday Tribune findings revealed that in the race are two chieftains from the North-Central part of the country and one from the North-West.
The committee, on Thursday, announced the swapping of offices held in the current National Working Committee (NWC) between the North and South.
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With the development, the North is expected to produce the national chairman, along with deputy national chairman (North), national organising secretary, treasurer, legal adviser, publicity secretary and youth leader.
According to Sunday Tribune investigation, a former Kaduna State governor, Ahmed Makarfi, who emerged as acting national chairman following the aborted 2016 national convention in Port Harcourt, has mentioned his interest for the office to certain stakeholders in the party from the North. Makarfi emerged as acting national chairman with Senator Ben Obi as national secretary, following the stalemated Port Harcourt convention where the NWC led by former Borno State governor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, was dissolved.
A party chieftain, who spoke to Sunday Tribune, in confidence, said the ambition of the former Kaduna State governor may not enjoy the support of certain governors from the South. He said Makarfi is believed to be a strong ally of the axed national chairman of the party, Uche Secondus.
The source noted that certain governors in league with Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike may work against Ahmed Makarfi’s ambition.
Another aspirant is the former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana, from Niger State in the North-Central geopolitical zone.
The former minister returned to the PDP last April at the party’s North-Central Zonal Congress which was held in Makurdi, Benue State, where he was received by Governor Samuel Ortom.
Professor Gana was a founding national secretary of the PDP at its formative stage in 1988. Before he dumped the main opposition party, Professor Gana was a member of its main advisory organ, the Board of Trustees.
Another chieftain of the party who has suddenly developed interest in the race for Wadata Plaza is former Senate President, David Mark. Mark, who is from Benue, also in the North Central, as Professor Gana, was penciled in, for the office of chairman of the Board of Trustees by the PDP elders in the North led by former Police Affairs Minister, Adamu Waziri, before the zoning committee’s decision last Thursday upturned their permutation.
A source close to the former Senate President could not confirm if Mark actually join the race, but maintained that his interest to lead the erstwhile ruling party could not be foreclosed.
“The PDP needs a steady, competent and capable hands like Senator Mark. He is unassuming and will be respected by all stakeholders.
“Recall his eight years of uninterrupted leadership in National Assembly. Recall that in 2015, when virtually all the bigwigs in the PDP defected, Mark remained the last man standing in the PDP. He is a man who calls a spade its rightful name,” the source said.
It was gathered that more chieftains from the North will formally join the chairmanship race after the National Executive Committee meeting fixed for this week.