Ortom, Ayu Split North As Eight Fight For PDP Chairmanship
THERE were indications on Sunday that the purported chairmanship bid of Third Republic president of the Senate, Dr Iyorchia has split the northern caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), following the tacit support from the Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State.
The list comprises six former state governors. one former minister and serving deputy national chairman of the PDP.
Last week, Nigerian Tribune exclusively reported that some influential members of the caucus had, after a meeting, threatened to work against any aspirant that might have a link with the governor because of his alleged role in the swapping of elective offices between the North and the South ahead of the PDP national convention.
Investigations by the Nigerian Tribune at the weekend showed that members of the group intensified lobbying after the meeting of the northern leaders of PDP held at the Bauchi State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja on Thursday night few hours after the National Executive Committee of the party ratified the recommendation of the Zoning Committee.
The recommendation was that all elective national offices, including chairmanship currently in the South should be swapped between the North and the South.
Sources told Nigerian Tribune that some powerful members of the PDP northern caucus stoutly resisted moves by Ortom to market Ayu to them as possible consensus candidate, claiming that there were other qualified candidates for chairmanship from the North.
The leaders reportedly suspected that PDP governors from the North had been working with some of their southern counterparts on the Ayu candidacy project.
A source claimed that the rising number of contenders from the North-Central was due to the alleged alliance between Ortom and a few of his colleagues from the South.
Already, former Governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State and ex-Governor Ahmed Makarfi of Kaduna State have indicated interest from the North-West for the chairmanship.
In the North-East, Ex-Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo and the current deputy national chairman of the PDP Senator Suleiman Nazif are in the race.
The chairmanship hopeful from the North Central, beside Ayu, are ex-Kogi State governor, Idris Ibrahim and a former Minister of Information and National Orientation, Professor Jerry Gana. It was also gathered that a former governor of Niger State, Dr Babangida Aliyu has indicated interest in the contest.
Part of the resolutions of the leaders of the caucus at their meeting last week was that each of the three geopolitical zones in the North should come up with one candidate each for a meeting that will hold next week Wednesday.
The candidates from each of the zones will be allowed to be voted for to enable the North present a consensus chairmanship candidate at the PDP October convention.
However, the sources claimed apart from Ortom, the “rest of the PDP governors from the North do not want the national chairman to emerge from their states for strategic reasons in the emerging politics of the 2023 elections.”
The permutation is that the likely candidates from the three zones are Ibrahim Shema for North-West; Ibrahim Idris from NorthCentral and Ibrahim Dankwanbo, another PDP source said. Ortom was said to have raised the issue of having a Christian chairman to pacify the Christians ostensibly over various agitations.
“As a result of this agitation, Professor Jerry Gana, another Christian, has indicated interest in the race. Also, Babangida Aliyu from Niger has joined the contest. The decision is becoming more difficult.”