Ahead of the national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) scheduled for October 30, two former Senate Presidents, David Mark, and Bukola Saraki, have declined interest in contesting for the national chairmanship position of the party, Daily Independent has gathered.
While Mark is hoping to succeed Senator Walid Jibrin as the chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Saraki is said to have his eyes firmly set on becoming the presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2023 general elections.
The zoning committee of the party, headed by the governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, had last week zoned the position of the national chairman to the North.
Ugwuanyi had announced that the National Working Committee (NWC) positions currently being held by party members across the country would be swapped between the North and South.
Credible sources in the party said though it was not formally announced, stakeholders in the party have micro-zoned the position to the North-Central region.
Although Mark was being promoted by PDP governors who saw him as a stabiliser with the much-needed experience to manage the party’s affairs, our correspondent gathered from sources close to him that he has declined the offer.
“David Mark is not interested in the chairmanship of the party. What he wants is the position of BoT chairman. He has seen it that the North-Central has produced five national chairmen in the past – Solomon Lar, Barnabas Gemade, Ahmadu Alli, Kawu Baraje, and AuduOgbe.
“The North Easth as produced Bamanga Tukur and North-West has only produced Acting Chairman, Mohammed Haliru Bello. The South-East has also produced two National Chairmen in Chief Vincent Ogbula for and Okwesilieze Nwodo.
“Even, both Haliru Bello and Makarfi who came from North- West served in acting capacities.
“Also, Mark and the North prefer a Northern Muslim so that the South can produce a Christian as National Secretary. Once you take a Northern Christian as chairman, then you have restricted the national secretary who must be a Muslim to only one zone in the South,” a credible source close to the former Senate President informed our correspondent.
it was gathered that Saraki, who served as chairman of the PDP National Reconciliation Committee, is also not interested in becoming the national chairman and has politely declined the offer.
While some governors in the party who wanted a former governor to become the national chairman are pushing for Saraki, it was gathered by our source that the former two-term governor of Kwara is focused on a bigger, national project in 2023.
According to a member of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC), Saraki is interested in contesting for the presidency even though he is yet to formally declare his ambition.
“I understand Saraki, too, has declined the offer. He has not informed us but we understand he has his eyes set on contesting the 2023 presidential election on the platform of our great party,” he said.