Ahead of the 2023 presidential election, a fresh crisis is brewing in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over which zone should have its presidential ticket.
Since the party was defeated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015 to bring its rule for 16 years to an end, it has been struggling to reclaim the presidency without success.
While the opposition party is in the process of holding an elective national convention to elect its new leaders, there are indications that the issue of zoning is tearing it apart.
For months now, there have been severe agitations as to where the presidential ticket of the party should be zoned to, with leaders and chieftains of the party, particularly from the southern part of the country, insisting that the party’s unwritten zoning arrangement be respected and the 2023 presidential ticket zoned exclusively to the South.
It is believed in many quarters that the zoning controversy is at the bottom of the storm that has been the lot of the suspended national chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus.
His alleged tacit support for a presidential aspirant from the north in spite of the clamour for power shift is believed to have won him several enemies from his home zone.
However, fresh indications have emerged that anti-zoning forces may have devised new plans to forestall the possibility of the party zoning the presidential ticket to the South.
The Nation gathered that an ongoing process towards the election of a new national chairman for the party is brewing suspicion and creating a fresh crisis within it.
Very reliable party sources said the high number of southern PDP chieftains indicating interest in the national chairmanship while no northerner is showing interest has become a source of worry for pro-zoning agitators within the PDP.
It was gathered that some prominent leaders and chieftains of the party, including governors, National Assembly members and Board of Trustees (BoT) members from the southern zones have expressed dissatisfaction with what they described as an attempt to scheme the zones out of contention for the presidential ticket.
It was also gathered that governors elected on the platform of the PDP are now divided over the zoning issue.
The Nation gathered that while some of them are now openly supporting national chairmanship aspirants from the south, others like Governor Seyi Makinde and Udom Emmanuel of Oyo and Akwa Ibom states respectively are warning that the emergence of a southerner in that position may nail any hope of the region getting the presidential ticket.
An ally of the Oyo State governor explained in a chat with our correspondent yesterday that Makinde’s position is based on his understanding of the practice in PDP.
An aide to the governor said: “A look at previous arrangements revealed that the national chairman and the presidential candidate had never emerged from the same region in the past.
“So, our governor, given his commitment to the southern presidency project, is asking his colleagues for a commitment that the chairmanship is not a bait to stop power from shifting to the South in 2023.
“He is not alone in this. There are other governors with him.”
The Nation however gathered that some other governors have recently proposed that the presidential ticket be thrown open for aspirants from all zones of the country to contest for it. “Their major arguments are that the last president the PDP produced is from the South and it may not be easy to defeat the APC with a presidential candidate from the South So, they have a plan to retain the ticket in the north,” a source claimed.
Finding by our correspondent revealed that majority of southern governors are opposed to the new plan by their colleagues from the north. “Though a couple of southern governors are now being convinced to join the anti zoning push, with offers like the vice presidency and other promises, the majority is still unrelenting in the quest for the ticket in 2023,” a party source said.
Determined to send the message clearly to their colleagues, PDP governors in the south have joined their APC colleagues to insist that the next president of the country should come from the South in 2023, in spite of indications that many of their colleagues are plotting to keep the ticket in the north.
“At the recent meeting of southern governors, PDP governors sent a very strong signal to their colleagues from the north and others opposed to zoning when they openly supported and signed the communique insisting on power shift. The implications are that PDP governors are now poised for showdown over the zoning issue,” our source said.
The Nation also gathered that members of the PDP caucus in the National Assembly are also not on the same page on the zoning issue.
Last week, the Southeast caucus of the PDP NASS met and decided that it will not be part of any arrangement that opposes the zoning of the presidential ticket to the South.
The legislators were responding to alleged moves to give the Southwest the national chairmanship in order to keep the presidential ticket in the north.
“Our position is to put it on record that the chairmanship is not the same as the presidential ticket and that those angling for the seat are not doing so on behalf of the entire south,” our source added.
As the drama continues to unfold, prominent chieftains of the party are urging the gladiators to be careful not to cause an implosion within the party. They have also been expressing fears about the chances of the party in the next general election.
A member of the PDP BoT, while speaking on the current crisis, accused some governors of trying to return the party to its troubled era.
He said: “The plot to give the Southwest the chairmanship so as to block the South from the presidential ticket will fail.
“It is an attempt to destroy the PDP and we must be careful. If PDP wants to win in 2023, we must respect zoning and give the South the ticket.
“I commend the governors that are still standing and I am sure they will prevail.”
Ifeanyi Uba seeks court permission to visit Nnamdi Kanu in DSS facility
The senator representing Anambra South, ifeanyi Uba, has sought an order of a Federal High Court, Abuja to visit leader of the prosecribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, at the Department of State Service (DSS) detention.
Uba, who is also the candidate of Young Progressives Party (YPP) in the Nov. 6 Governorship Election, said he filed the application so that an order of the court could be obtained to direct the DSS allow him access to the detainee.
The lawmaker, in a motion on notice with suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015 dated and filed on Oct. 15 by his counsel, Agugoesi Ikem, sought three orders.
He said as a senator from the zone, he took it upon himself to carry out his oversight legislative functions to visit the Kanu at the detention facility to ascertain from him “if he is involved in any way in what is happening in the South East.
“AN ORDER of this Honourable Court granting Leave to Sen. IfeanyiUba to visit thé Defendant, NnamdiKanu, as part of his oversight legislative function.
“AN ORDER of this Honourable court directing the Complainant and/or the Department of State Services(DSS) to allow the said Senator Dr. IfeanyiUba access to their detention facility for purposes of visiting the Defendant, NnamdiKanu.
“AND OTHER ORDERS OR FURTHER ORDERS as the Honourable court may deein fit to make in the circ mstances of the case,” it read.
In the affidavit in support of the motion, Uba said that as a lawmaker from the South East Geopolitical Zone, he was bound by the oath he took to ensure peace and security not only in the region but the entire Nigeria.
It reads in part: “That I state that as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it is one of my responsibilities to ensure the promotion of the Constitution of Nigeria and other laws of Nigeria.
“That I know that the Defendant in this matter was arrested and brought into Nigeria by the Department of State Services(DSS) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and since he was brought into Nigeria, he had been detained at the detention facility of the DSS pending his trial.
“That I know that by the Constitution of Nigeria every citizen, including the Defendant, that is charged with an offence is presumed innocent until the charge is proven.
“That I know that the Defendant was charged with several offence and the DSS had only produced him on one occasion in court.
“That there is an allegation that criminalities are being championed by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra under the leadership of the detained Defendant; an allegation which has been denied severally; yet the situation continues to worsen.
“That I visited and intend to visit the Defendant in my capacity as a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and for purposes of attempting to ameliorate and fashion a meeting point or create a discussion table aimed at reducing tension and quelling the agitation and killings in the South East,” Uba said.
However, no date has been fixed to hear the application.
FG Files Fresh Charges Against Nnamdi Kanu
The Federal Government has filed an amended seven-count charge against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, before a Federal High Court in Abuja.
The fresh charges border on treasonable felony and terrorism following the pending charges he was facing since 2016.
Meanwhile, the court has issued hearing notice in the case, which is billed to commence on Thursday, October 21.
The notice titled Federal Republic of Nigeria Versus Nnamdi Kanu with suit number: FHC/ABJ/CR/383/15, was served on Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor and that of the prosecution, Shuaibu Labaran.
The notice indicates that the court presided by Justice Binta Nyako made fresh directives on the conduct of the proceedings throughout the case.
“This case will be transferred from the General Cause List to the hearing paper for Thursday 21st October 2021at 9 o’clock forenoon and will come on to be on that day if the business of the court permits or otherwise on some adjustment day of which you will receive no further notice,” the notice reads.
“If either party desires to postpone the hearing, he must apply to the court as soon as possible for that purpose and if the application is based on any matter of fact, he must be prepared to give proof of those facts.
“The parties are warned that at the hearing, they are required to bring forward all the evidence by witnesses or by documents which each of them desires to rely on in support of his own case and in contradiction of that of his opponent.
“The proof will be required at the hearing and not on a subsequent day, and parties failing to bring their evidence forward at the proper time may find themselves absolutely precluded from adducing it at all, or at best only allowed to do so on payment of substantial costs to the other side, and on such other terms as the court deems fits to impose.
“Parties desirous to enforce the attendance of witnesses should apply at once to the court to issue one or more summonses for the attendance of the witnesses required.
“It is indispensable that the application should be made so as to allow time for reasonable notice to the witnesses required.
“If the witness is required to bring books or papers, they must be particularized in the summons sufficiently to enable him to understand what is meant.
” Any party summoning a witness through the court thereby becomes liable to pay such witness reasonable sum of money to be fixed by the court for his expense and loss of time.
“The court may refuse to enforce the attendance of a witness unless such sum has been fixed and deposited in the court.
“If either party desires to use in evidence at the hearing, any book or document in the possession or power of the other party, he must give the other party, reasonable notice in writing to produce It at the hearing, failing which he will not be allowed to give any secondary evidence of its contents.”
Toke Makinwa unveiled as Gulder Ultimate Search 12 anchor
Popular OAP Toke Makinwa has been unveiled as host for the 2021 edition of the survival reality show, Gulder Ultimate Search.
She was unveiled on Saturday less than 24 hours after the organisers tasked over 61,000 Instagram followers to guess the show’s new host.
“It’s about time! The age of craftsmanship is upon us and@tokemakinwais ready for the journey. Welcome to the #GulderUltimateSearch,” the video’s caption reads.
Confirming the announcement, Makinwa also shared the video via her Instagram page.
“The council of Elders called and I answer. The age of Craftmanship is finally upon us.
“My name is Toke Makinwa. I am the anchor of the Gulder Ultimate Search – The Age of Craftmanship. Now let the adventures begin,” she said.
She added: “Gulder Ultimate Search is back and guess who your host of the season is????
“You guessed correct. The TM season is fully on.
“The council of elders called, the age of Craftsmanship is finally upon us, see you at the jungle.”
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