The zoning of national offices among the six geopolitical zones has further compounded the problems facing the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party.
Investigations in Abuja on Tuesday and Wednesday indicated that the conflict among several interest groups within the party has further deepened following the proposal by the committee on zoning over how to share the offices among the geopolitical zones.
It was gathered that stakeholders and different caucuses in the party were not happy with the zoning of the Office of the National Chairman to the North-East.
The current National Chairman of the party, Senator Modu Sheriff, is from the zoning.
It was generally believed that the zoning committee, headed by the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Emmanuel Udom, with the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, as deputy, tactically zoned the office to Sheriff.
There were unconfirmed reports that Sheriff and Fayose were planning a joint ticket as the party’s presidential and vice- presidential candidates in 2019.
The zoning committee had met in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, on Saturday night when it made the zoning proposals.
They met in Abuja on Tuesday night to fine-tune the proposal.
There are 12 national working officers in the party. It was gathered that the committee gave seven offices to the South while five were given to the North.
Sources within the committee said that the Office of the Deputy National Chairman was zoned to the South-South while the Office of the National Secretary was zoned to the South-West even as the Office of the Organising Secretary was zoned to the South-East.
It was also learnt that the Office of the Legal Adviser was zoned to the South-South while the Office of the National Woman Leader was zoned to the North-East, National Treasurer (North-Central), National Auditor (South-East) and National Financial Secretary (North-West), among others.
The zoning committee which met on Tuesday night with the hope of finalising its reports and submitting same to the party’s national leadership was unable to resolve the crisis that arose because of the discontentment among party members.
It was gathered that some governors, led by the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, who is also the Governor of Ondo State, Dr.Olusegun Mimiko, queried the zoning of the office of the national chairman to North-East.
The meeting of the committee, which was held amidst protests from the northern members of the party, insisted that the office of the chairman be zoned to the South-West.
Meanwhile, the South-West has yet to produce the national chairman of the party since the party was formed 17 years ago.
However, some leaders of the party from the South-West, led by Senator Buruji Kasamu, had advocated that the office be zoned to the North, saying the party was weak in the area.
Out of the 19 states in the entire North, the PDP has only two governors in Gombe and Taraba states.
The other states are being governed by the All Progressives Congress.
The majority of the governors were said to have insisted that Sheriff should not be a candidate during the May 21 national convention, saying he was brought in to spend only three months.
A governor, who spoke after their turbulent meeting, said that the Buruji group that claimed that the South-West did not want the office of the chairman, were actually fronting for Sheriff and Fayose.
“They were agents of both men. Which zone would be asked to produce the leader of the party and would not want it? They have their own agenda,” the governor said.
He said Buruji was hitherto unknown to the party, but was brought in by a former National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, to destabilise former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“Tukur brought him to the party and now he’s claiming to be the leader of the party in a zone where we have enlightened men and women. We won’t take that,” a leader of the party from the zone said.
Another governor, who was part of the meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, said that the Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike, was also behind Sheriff’s ambition.