Three former state governors from the North and a serving national officer from the axis late Thursday night confirmed their interest in the chairmanship of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigerian Tribune has learnt.
This followed a strategic meeting convened by the northern caucus of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party from the North after the meeting of the second main decision-making organ of PDP held in Abuja on Thursday.
The four chairmanship hopefuls include two each from the North-East and the North-West geopolitical zones.
From the North-West is a former governor of Kaduna State, who once served as PDP Caretaker National Chairman, Senator Ahmed Maikarfi and a former Governor of Katsina State and lawyer, Ibrahim Shema.
The two from the North-East are PDP deputy national chairman (North), Senator Suleiman Nazif and a former governor of Gombe, Dr Ibrahim Dankwambo.
A source said after an exhaustive deliberation on the issues discussed by members of NEC meeting of the PDP, the northern caucus members of the organ quickly summoned a meeting to harmonise their positions.
The meeting was held at the Bauchi State Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro in the Federal Capital, where the caucus members resolved that all PDP members interested in positions zoned to the North confirm their interest very early today, Friday.
The indication is that a similar meeting will be held shortly to scrutinise the list of such prospective candidates ostensibly for the purpose of micro-zoning the available national offices for the North.
The source said the meeting of the northern caucus, however, did not discuss the decision of PDP NEC throwing open the presidency to all the six geopolitical zones in the country.
Prior to the meeting, the media was abuzz with reports of pressure on a former president of the Senate, Senator David Mark, a former presidential aspirant and minister of Information and national orientation, Professor Jerry Gana to join the chairmanship contest.
Both are from Benue and Niger states, respectively, in the North-Central geopolitical zones.
According to a source privy to the meeting, who gave an account of proceedings: “The members of NEC from the North this evening had a meeting after the NEC meeting proper.
“At the meeting, the four governors from the North suggested that the post of chairman be zoned to North-Central but the idea was rejected.
“Rather, the meeting, which was held to distribute posts among the 19 states in the North, directed that anybody who is interested in the post of chairman is free to contest.
“The meeting may thereafter decide what position to micro-zone to which state in the northern states.
“The meeting gave all persons from the North till tomorrow morning (Friday) to decide and indicate to the group what posts he or she seeks to vie for.
“The two from North-West are a) Incumbent PDP deputy national chairman (North), Senator Suleiman Nazif and a former governor of Gombe, Dr Ibrahim Dankwambo.
“Following the meeting of the caucus held in the Bauchi State Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro, four persons have indicated interest already
“There two each from the North-East and two from the North-West.
“The two from North-West are a former governor of Kaduna State, who once served as PDP Caretaker National Chairman, Senator Ahmed Maikarfi and a former governor of Katsina State, Barrister Ibrahim Shema.”
The national convention of the PDP comes up at the end of October to elect a new set of NEC members.