With attention focused on possible frictions coming out from today’s national convention of the All Progressives Congress, APC, expectations that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP would reap from the possible crisis were at the weekend being played down.
The PDP, according to party insiders is also faced with its own internal discord centred around the zoning of the presidency with the party increasingly being polarised between those in support of zoning and those pushing for the presidential ticket to be thrown open.
Saturday Vanguard reports that leading the battle for the ticket to be thrown open are supporters of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who have been engaged in a battle of wits with their opponents supportive of zoning.
Last Monday, the Atiku camp it was gathered deployed its operatives led by a former influential but former South-South senator to mobilise support for Atiku at the South-South retreat of the PDP that took place in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The modus operandi of the Atiku supporters at the summit, it was gathered, was the narrative that Atiku is the only one who can win the presidency for the PDP.
“Winnability should be projected” above all other considerations, the Atiku supporters said.
However, critics have also flayed the Atiku campaign for not being consistent, citing the former vice-president’s past positions on zoning and open attack on President Goodluck Jonathan for taking the turn of the North in 2011.
Saturday Vanguard reports that at the PDP National Convention in 2010 that Atiku turned away from congratulating Jonathan after he fought and lost the 2011 ticket of the PDP to Dr. Jonathan.
However, the move by the national leadership of the PDP to resolve the battle over zoning turned into an academic exercise earlier this week when Atiku made his formal declaration for the presidency on Wednesday.
The declaration according to PDP insiders has made the work of the Zoning Committee a difficult one.
While party stakeholders initially believed that the decision to zone the office of national chairman to the North meant that the presidential ticket would come to the South, that impression has been largely erased with the active campaign of mainly northern presidential aspirants. Besides Atiku, former Senate President Bukola Saraki, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Sokoto and Governor Bala Mohammed, Bauchi are also active, lobbying for the ticket.
Saturday Vanguard reports that until recently that promising southern aspirants had been largely silent on their intentions.
However, the declaration by Mr Peter Obi and what sources disclose as the active consultations by Governor Nyesom Wike may change the dynamics for the PDP.
Obi it was gathered, has consulted widely among national leaders including some former Heads of State who have given him the nod to forge ahead.
Wike has also been consulting actively among the party grassroots and is believed to be banking on the active support he has been giving to the party, especially in states without PDP governors.
Wike, like Obi, has also been able to win favour from a large proportion of PDP stakeholders with his performance in Rivers State having invited several leaders to commission his projects in the state.
The pressure on the PDP to zone the ticket to the South was further canvassed at the Monday retreat of the PDP where all four governors and party leaders endorsed the joint resolution of Southern governors for the PDP ticket to be zoned to the South after eight years of the presidency in the North. However, the membership of the PDP zoning committee is being fingered as what could influence the party to throw it open. With one representative from each state and Abuja the northern representatives have numerical strength. And as it is obvious the party, for strategic reasons, not zone it to the north on account of it’s zoning committee membership there are indications the party may through the Presidential ticket race open to all.