2019: Crisis looms in PDP as bigwigs get set to engage in public battle over VP ticket, following outcome of national convention

As the race for the 2019 presidential election gathers steam, interest groups in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are set to battle each other for control of the party. According to The Independent, following the outcome of the recently-held national convention, some power brokers have commenced underground moves to outwit one another. 

Senator who spoke under the condition of anonymity disclosed that the position of vice presidential candidate of the party may turn out to be more acrimonious than that for the presidency. He stated that this was because while the presidential ticket had been zoned to the north, those struggling to get the vice presidential ticket would cut across two geopolitical zones. 

A staunch member of the opposition party reportedly stated that the election of Uche Secondus as the party’s national chairman has changed the equation on how to share the major offices in the country. The PDP had previously zoned its national chairmanship position to the southwest, while it zoned the VP slot to the southeast. 

The north was given the presidential ticket as well as the speakership of the House of Reps. Also, the Senate presidency slot was zoned to the southsouth, while the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) was allocated to the north. However, the emergence of Secondus, has reportedly thrown open the VP slot to contention from candidates from the southwest and southeast. 

Furthermore, in the event that the VP slot is eventually given to the southwest as compensation for the loss of the national chairmanship, it has been gathered that some power brokers in the region are already working against the ticket being given to the Ekiti state governor, Ayo Fayose, who has a personal ambition of running with former vice president Atiku Abubakar, who is seeking the presidential ticket. A source further disclosed that in the situation whereby the southwest gets the VP ticket, the southeast would most likely be compensated with the Senate presidency. 

According to the source: “The peace of the graveyard existing among power brokers in our party is better imagined. I just can’t fathom how it’s going to be resolved without an implosion. “One thing is certain, the decision to change the sharing arrangement which has seen Prince Uche Secondus emerge as the chairman will have a ripple effect which if not properly handled, might result into a big crisis for our party.

“Take as a liar anyone who says the Southern leaders of the party did not agree on micro-zoning of the chairmanship to the South-west last year; such a person is being economical with the truth. But the main fact is that interests have changed, and those who feel they own the ace have done what they wanted. “What we need now is how to move forward. Will the southwest agree to let go of the vice president slot in the interest of the party or will they also insist on having it? That’s the biggest challenge now because the seat was initially given to the southeast in principle. 

“Now, that gentleman agreement will no longer work. I doubt if the southwest will agree to let it be maintained in the South-east while they wait on the general election and take the Senate president seat if the PDP eventually gets the majority of seats in the upper legislative chamber.” 

Another source also stated: “One can only wait and see what will happen when the expected fight between Governor Ayodele Fayose and Governor Nyesom Wike of River state will burst into public domain because as it stands, the plans of Fayose to become the vice presidential candidate of our party will not materialize because Governor Wike has turned his back on him. “Take it to the bank, the southwest will be compensated for the loss of the chairmanship position with the vice presidential slot, and it will be given to Governor Olusegun Mimiko who is seen as a more cerebral and calm person who will be easily more marketable across the country far easier than Governor Fayose. 

“The reaction of the southeast might also not be palatable as there is going to be a big fight by leaders of the zone who definitely will feel shortchanged after helping the ‘new Don’ from the South-south in achieving his aim of having the party in his kitty. “The last option for the South-east will be to accept the Senate presidency which is still in the realm of dreams as no one is sure of how the states will vote in the parliamentary elections.” 

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