Only president from N/Central can unite Nigeria – NCPF
By Ismail Mudashir, Muideen Olaniyi & Baba Martins
A former governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shema, former Senate President Iyorchia Ayu (Benue State) and Senator Suleiman Nazif (Bauchi) have emerged as the zonal candidates for the national chairmanship position of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Daily Trust has learnt.
While Shema emerged as the consensus candidate from the North West and Ayu from North Central, Nazif is the only candidate from the North East.
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party had last week approved the zoning of the party chairmanship to the North ahead of its October 30 convention.
A source in the party told one of our correspondents that six out of the seven states in the North West endorsed Shema as the candidate of the zone for the position.
“Six out of the seven states in the North West endorsed Shema and one supported Ahmed Makarfi, a former governor of Kaduna State,” he said. In the region, only Shema and Makarfi indicated interest.
On Tuesday, key stakeholders of the party from the North Central geo-political zone adopted Ayu as the consensus candidate for the position of national chairman.
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State made the announcement on Tuesday night after a meeting of stakeholders attended by former Senate presidents David Mark, Bukola Saraki, and Iyorchia Ayu.
The meeting, which was held at the Benue State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja, also had a former Kogi State governor, Ibrahim Idris; PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan; a former governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu; and a former Kwara State governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, among others in attendance.
Ortom, who is the only PDP governor from the zone, while briefing reporters after the meeting, said Ayu was picked among the five persons who showed interest in the position.
In the North East, it was gathered that Senator Suleiman Nazif, the Deputy National Chairman (North) emerged as the sole candidate of the zone.
With the emergence of the trio, the entire North will decide on one of them as the sole candidate to the convention, slated for October 30.
Last night, a meeting of the northern caucus of the party was ongoing in Abuja as at the time this report was filed. At the end of the meeting, it is expected that a candidate for the chairmanship would be picked.
Meanwhile, the North Central Peoples’ Forum (NCPF) has called on Nigerians to rally behind the zone to produce the next president of the country for the peace, unity and socio-economic development of the nation.
Addressing a press conference in his office on Wednesday, Sule Audu, National Publicity Secretary of the forum said it is the North Central that is holding the country together.
He lamented that the country is so polarized that Nigerians need someone from the North Central to bring about the needed stability and unity.
According to him, “We (North Central) remain the bridge builder; we have always worked for the unity of the country.”