PDP convention: Anxiety over micro-zoning in North-West


As expected, anxiety bordering on preparations for the December 9 National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has reached feverish height across the country, the latest being the plot to micro-zone some positions in the North.
While some states in the South are protesting the plot to tinker with lists of delegates, some members of the party in the North are already screaming blue murder on the micro-zoning formula which, to them, is a ploy to remove some ‘strong aspirants’ from contesting on December 9 in Abuja.
For days now, allegations have been flying across the North-West of plans to pick  some persons for particular national offices.
The National Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has been fingered in the plot but one of his aides described the allegation as baseless.
He said: “The National Caretaker Committee, led by Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi, has been faithful to the decision of the party’s convention not to micro-zone the national chairmanship and presidency.
“All the allegations being raised against Makarfi are not true. I am aware that there is, however, nothing stopping the zones or blocks from micro-zoning on their own accord.
“The zones can get their allocations and distribute. That was exactly what happened in the South-West when some BOT members decided to screen out some aspirants for the position of National Chairman. Is Makarfi also responsible for that?”
He said given the fact that Makarfi hails from the North-West, the former Kaduna State governor would be the first to be accused if any aspirant feels he is being screened out by leaders from the zone.
It is believed some leaders have zoned the position of the National Secretary to Kaduna and Katsina States while the position of National Woman Leader was zoned to Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara States, all in the North-West for any of them to produce these various National Working Committee, (NWC) members.
The brewing crisis now is as a result of sudden change in the arrangement where some persons were alleged to have sat down and micro-zoned the positions without any consensus, which came as a surprise to former political officer holders, party leaders and contestants.
Even more, the build up to the convention has been stormy due to the alleged unceasing intrigues, schemes and chicanery allegedly by  the former governor who allegedly  wants the position of the National Secretary to go to Katsina State, leaving Kaduna out of  it.
An angry source said this latest move may be because of Makarfi’s suspected 2019 presidential ambition and his alleged plan is to ensure that all elected NWC members are his loyalists to do his bidding.
According to a source from the North-West, Makarfi, alongside others who are loyal to him, are now micro-zoning the positions as against his earlier stand that the party must not micro-zone the positions to any area, that the race be opened for all in that zone or the states. 
The source alleged  further that Makarfi, who hails from the same Makarfi Local Government area in Kaduna State with an aspirant for the position of National Secretary and former National Organising Secretary, Alhaji Abubakar Mustapha, is not comfortable with his emergence over perceived notion that if Mustapha emerges, it would affect his 2019 presidential ambition. 
It was also further alleged that Makarfi may be kicking against Mustapha because of his closeness and loyalty to former Vice President Namadi Sambo.
But the Makarfi source described these assertions as wild speculations “which are untrue”.
The source said it is true the National Caretaker Committee said it would not micro zone  the national  chairmanship and presidency which the party’s convention has zoned to the South and North respectively.
However, the pro-Makarfi  source said further that  the North and South are at liberty to, on their own, micro-zone the various positions.
“The National Caretaker Committee, especially Makarfi, has nothing  to do with any decision   by either Northern or Southern stakeholders to micro zone party offices at their levels.
“The micro zoning by stakeholders in the respective zones is not new as it was accepted during the flopped convention”.
But those fuming over the micro-zoning in the North-West alleged that Makarfi is not only micro zoning the position of National Secretary to Katsina State, he was said to have narrowed it down on a particular former Senator from the state, thereby depriving other aspirants from going into contest and the people from the two states electing their own National  Secretary. 
It was also gathered that the position of the National Woman Leader, which was hitherto opened to Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara, is now being micro zoned to Kebbi State which is also causing a major problem in the North-West geo-political zone. 
Another source of tension is the allegation that Makarfi is allegedly preparing a Unity List which he would present at the National Convention.
The same list is scheduled to be allegedly presented before PDP governors’ meeting holding  in Enugu State.
It appears the panic over micro zoning stemmed further from fears by some  insiders  that the 11 PDP governors meeting in Enugu may be asked to  endorse what all the zones have picked. 
Following  the growing anxiety in the North-West, it was learnt that there was an emergency meeting of party leaders from the zone on Thursday night at the Abuja residence of former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa.
The meeting allegedly ended in  a deadlock because of irreconcilable differences.
At the meeting were former Vice President Namadi Sambo; Makarfi, Alhaji Sule Lamido, former Minister Kabiru Turaki, the Zonal Chairman, Ambassador Ibrahim Kazaure, and others.


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