PAN-Igbo socio-political organisation Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council (OYC) has warned that as many as three governors from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the southeast geo-political zone will defect to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) soon.
According to OYC, they are likely to do this because the PDP is nor offering them guarantees that it will zone the 2023 presidential ticket to the southeast. Last week, it was reported that Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State would defect to the APC in what is seen as the first step in his bid to run for president come 2023.
Although not constitutional, Nigeria’s component parts have a gentleman’s agreement that the presidency will rotate between the north and the south of the country. President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure will end in 2023 and being a Fulani northern Muslim, it is expected that the next president will come from southern Nigeria.
Each half of the country is made up of three geo-political zones, which in the south is made up of the southeast, south-south and southwest geo-political zones. However, since the return to democracy in 1999, the southwest has produced President Olusegun Obasanjo. while the south-south has produced President Goodluck Jonathan, so the next president should come from the southeast.
Ohaneze Ndigbo leaders are hoping that both the PDP and the APC will commit to fielding Igbo presidential candidates come 2023 and the jostling for position should this happen has already begun. With the former Anambra State governor Peter Obi, who was the PDP’s vice presidential candidate almost certainly be the party’s flagbearer in 2023, other candidates are calculating that the APC might offer them the best route to the presidency.
At the moment, three of the five states in the southeast are controlled by the PDP, with Enugu, Abia and Ebonyi States all having PDP governors. According to the OYC, these governors will lead a mass defection from the PDP if the party fails to be open to zoning for the 2023 presidency.
OYC president Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, described the proposed emergence meetings of the PDP board of trustees scheduled for November 18 and the party’s national executive council meeting coming up on November 19 as the last opportunity to revert back to zoning as enshrined in its constitution. He warned that any Igbo politician caught negotiating for the position of vice president will suffer stiff penalties and consequences.
Mazi Isiguzoro said: “Failure of the PDP board of trustees and national executive council to stand down the national working committee’s decision for an unconstitutional open contest and revert back to the zoning formula, will inevitably lead to collapse of the PDP machinery in the southeast as three Igbo governors will lead Igbos into mass defection from the PDP to the APC. This is the final warning to the PDP.”