Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation
• Southern govs mount pressure on ex-Senate President
• APC, PDP in cat and mouse game over 2023 plans
• Uncertainty over ruling party’s national convention
• APC governors may meet in Paris after official task
Few days after their party’s national chairman position was zoned to the North, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors are searching for a good candidate for the office.
Already, PDP governors from the South have held a meeting with a former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, in Abuja to persuade him to lead the party.
But the ongoing search has also thrown up other respected candidates including ex-governors Ahmed Makarfi, Sule Lamido and Babangida Aliyu.
It was however gathered that the Southern governors were strong on Mark who was yet to give any commitment at the time of filing this report.
But while the PDP was shopping for a chairman, the All Progressives Congress (APC) was said to be adopting “delay tactics” in conducting its national convention.
It was gathered that APC has been foot-dragging as part of the ongoing spy on developments in PDP.
There were speculations last night that APC may conduct its national convention in December or early 2022.
But some APC leaders and governors, a few of whom may meet in Paris this week after an official engagement, are opposed to the December date for the convention.
Also, some forces in the party are thinking of a Plan B by allowing Mai Mala Buni Caretaker Committee to oversee the conduct of the presidential primaries before the emergence of a new national chairman of APC.
According to investigation by our correspondent, some Southern PDP governors, most of who voted for a national chairman from the North, met with Mark behind closed doors in Abuja to offer him the office.
A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Immediately the zoning formula for party offices was released, the PDP governors initiated the search for a new national chairman of the party.
“Most of the Southern PDP governors, who dominate the party’s Governors’ Forum, have however held a secret session with a former President of the Senate, David Mark, to persuade him to run for national chairman.
“Apart from managing the Doctrine of Necessity which led to the emergence of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as Acting President in 2010, the governors at the session described Mark as a steady hand.
“The proponents of Senator Mark recalled his eight years of uninterrupted leadership in the Senate which brought stability to the polity and his unwavering commitment to the PDP.
“They said when PDP lost the presidency in 2015 and party stalwarts were defecting, it was only Mark that was unshaken.
“He was quoted as saying ‘I will be the last man standing in the PDP’. This was the strong point emphasised at the meeting by the Southern PDP governors.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “Mark is yet to make any commitment to the governors on whether or not he will accept the offer to lead the party.
“I think he is still consulting and he must get his calculation right before plunging into the contest.”
But some governors, including one or two from the South, have also come up with some party leaders who can lead PDP.
A former governor said the affected PDP governors have recommended ex-governors Ahmed Makarfi (who was once a Caretaker Chairman of the party), Sule Lamido and Babangida Aliyu.
The ex-governor said: “For his peaceful disposition and capacity, these governors and party leaders are pushing for Makarfi to return the party to the path of glory in 2023.
“For Lamido, who is aspiring to be the presidential candidate of the party in 2023, they said there might be conflict of interest.
“Overall, Lamido is rated as an expert in party management as a former National Secretary of the defunct Social democratic Party (SDP) which won the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election.
“On the part of Babangida Aliyu, the unstable PDP structure in Niger State, especially the disunity between the leaders and other members, is counting against him.
“The number could rise, but we have four candidates the search has thrown up among the governors. Some of these leaders are not even aware.”
But while PDP was trying to get its act together, the All Progressives Congress (APC) was said to be adopting “delay tactics” in conducting its National Convention to elect a new national chairman and other members of its National Working Committee.
It was gathered that APC strategy revolves around “watching development in PDP” to guide its permutations for 2023.
Although it was being speculated last night that APC may conduct its national convention in December or early 2022, most governors of the party were uncomfortable that they have been kept in the dark about the national convention.
It was learnt that some APC governors, a few of who may meet in Paris this week after an official engagement, are opposed to the December date for the convention.
Also, some forces in the party have been thinking of a Plan B by allowing Mai Mala Buni Caretaker Committee to oversee the conduct of presidential primaries before the emergence of a new national chairman of APC.
A member of the NEC said: “Our greatest challenge is that not all party leaders, governors and state chapters are fully in the picture of the shape of our national convention and when it will be conducted.
“We have just heard that APC National Convention may either hold in December or early 2022. To us, it is still a guessing game because there is no concrete information from the party leadership.
“Some APC governors, a few who may meet in Paris this week after an official assignment, are also uncomfortable with the last two weeks of December for National Convention.
“All the national chairmanship aspirants have been slowing down their campaign because of the uncertainty surrounding the convention. There is no openness at all for what some party leaders regarded as “strategic reasons.”
“Most ministers, who are regarded as party leaders in each state, are fully in the dark. They eavesdrop too. What we are preparing for is the state congress. So, we seem to be operating a Pay-As-You-Go method.
“The only disturbing trend is that we used to hear a refrain that APC is closely monitoring development in PDP. Some leaders have been saying that how can a man be at the top and be looking at what is going on at the basement.
“The bottom line is that APC and PDP are involved in a hide and seek game on their plans for the 2023 poll.”