Some key leaders in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have begun moves to lobby for a former president of the Senate, David Mark and an ex-governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Makarfi, to emerge as the next national chairman of the party.
The latest change of tactics came after the zoning committee, headed by the governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, zoned the position to the North.
But our reporter learnt that the position of the presidency still remains dicey as the party leaders might throw the race open to all zones.
Ugwuanyi had announced last Thursday that the National Working Committee (NWC) positions currently being held by party members across the country would be swapped between the North and South.
He, however, said the mandate of his committee did not include zoning of the office of president and vice president after a meeting of the PDP Governors’ Forum had earlier endorsed the decision.
Before the decision, only aspirants from the South-West geopolitical zone were being touted as possible successor to the suspended PDP national chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus.
They included a former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose and the party’s candidate in the 2020 Ondo State governorship election, Eyitayo Jegede, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Oyinlola’s campaign posters had surfaced at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja before the decision of the zoning committee, which still requires the ratification by the National Executive Committee (NEC), which has fixed its meeting for Thursday.
Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that Mark was being promoted by PDP governors who saw him as a stabiliser and personality with wider acceptability.
His candidacy, a reliable source said, enjoys the backing of his state governor, Samuel Ortom of Benue State.
One of the leaders championing the cause said the former Senate president was being considered because “party leaders, especially the PDP Governors’ Forum, are looking for a stabiliser.”
“They feel that somebody who has a national character and appeal is needed to stabilise the party, somebody who can enjoy the support of the military and the civilian populace. So they zeroed in on him. Basically, they want somebody who has never abandoned the party.
“In 2015, after the PDP lost election, virtually everybody that is ‘who is who’ in the party left to join the All Progressives Congress (APC). He said he would be the last man standing. That statement is paying off,” he said.
Daily Trust on Sunday also gathered that Makarfi, who briefly steered the ship of the party, enjoys the support of key political leaders from the “core” North.
Asked if he was willing to heed the call to succeed Prince Secondus as national chairman, the former governor of Kaduna State replied in a text message sent to our correspondent, “I am not aware of that.”
Meanwhile, an emergency meeting of the PDP NEC has been fixed for Thursday, according to a notice released by the party’s national secretary, Senator Umaru Ibrahim Tsauri.
Although the notice was silent on the agenda of the meeting, it was learnt that it would ratify the report of the zoning committee on the national officers of the party.
It will also discuss the budget of the 279-member National Convention Organising Committee chaired by the governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, as well as the amendment to the party’s constitution, among other things.