PDP in Crisis over chairmanship zoning

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Barely a month after the Supreme Court resolved the leadership crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the battle for the soul of the party is causing a silent war within it.

The bone of contention is the zoning of the chairmanship position which was ceded to the South-west zone prior to the botched national convention in Port Harcourt.

Already, a pressure group within the party is fingering the forum of ex-ministers for allegedly plotting to alter the zoning formula earlier adopted in Port Harcourt.

The group, which calls itself ‘Committee for Justice and Fairness’, circulated a statement in Lagos in which it described the activities of the former ministers as “disruptive and reckless”.

In the letter addressed to the chairman of the party’s Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, the group said, “It is rather disgraceful, annoying, obstructionist and evil straying into a deliberate sabotaging of the present peace of our party when the so-called former ministers are bent on destroying the already long established consensus reached at Port Harcourt that the next national chairman of our party should come from the South West”.

The group said to deprive the South West of the position “is condemnable, invidious, cruel and unfair. It is virtually unacceptable.

“This very historic consensus is not only fair and just. It is very appropriate and compliments the well known fairness doctrine. For out of all the six zones of our national union, the South West is the only zone which has been deprived of this prime honour,” the statement said.

However, the spokesman of the former ministers’ forum and immediate past Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, told Daily Trust that there was never a time the former ministers schemed for the zoning formula to be jettisoned, saying, “The forum has no hidden agenda and nobody can on account of greed intimidate us to stampede.”

Sulaiman also said, “Our position is not different from the position of our party – that’s, the chairmanship slot is for the South, while presidency is zoned to the North. Let the South decide if they deem it fit to zero in the position to a geo-political zone.

“That’s their decision; ditto for the presidency to the North. People should not forget that among us are ex-ministers of South West extraction.

“There is no how we would work against our members. People should learn how to conduct themselves and be decent in their vituperation.”

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