AHEAD of the 2023 Presidential elections, some prominent leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from South East geopolitical zone have threatened to dump the party for the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, if the presidential ticket was not ceded to the zone.
The PDP leaders also vowed not to take the vice presidency position from the party, saying that anyone from the zone that accepts the vice presidential ticket will be tagged an enemy of the zone.
A former governor from the zone who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity said that South-East has been faithful to the PDP since 1998 despite what happened to the late former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme at the convention in Jos.
He said: “If the PDP refused to zone the 2023 Presidential ticket to the South-East, we will be left with no other option than to leave the party.
“We are solidly behind the position of our brother and Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Umahi. We have supported the party (PDP) and it will be unfortunate if the party decides to take our support for granted. We have also vowed that we are not going to accept the Vice Presidential ticket from the party and any son or daughter of the zone that accepts to be vice to anyone will be tagged an enemy of the zone.
“I can also assure you that if the PDP refuses to zone its Presidential ticket to the South East and Governor Umahi leaves, other governors, members of the National Assembly and key stakeholders of the party from South East will also leave.
“You will be surprised with the kind of tsunami that will hit the PDP if it does not handle the issue well. There must be equity and fairness. We should learn how to reward our loyal and dedicated members.
“From the signals we are getting, the APC appears to be ready to zone its presidential ticket to South East and we cannot leave such gesture and follow a party that doesn’t appreciate your loyalty.
“You know that the APC had promised to consider zoning its presidential candidate for 2023 to South- East if President Muhammadu Buhari was re-elected in 2019. You also know that the President is an upright man. We have the conviction that he will ensure that the APC cedes the position to the zone.
Stakeholders mobilise against VP slot
“Some people are already mobilizing for #EndVP protest in South-East and we are going to ensure that we make resources available to that effect. It’s going to be a collective thing. And I am assuring you that the country will not regret having a President of South-East extraction come 2023.”
PDP’s to NEC meet over Umahi Thursday
Meanwhile, in response to the threat of Governor Umahi to dumping the party for the APC over zoning of 2023 presidential slot, the party will hold an emergency National Executive Committee, NEC meeting on Thursday, November 19 to discuss the way forward. Umahi reportedly met with the PDP National Working Committee, NWC recently in Abuja where he officially made known his intent to pitch tent with the ruling party.
The governor is said to have lost faith in the PDP, a party that has been supported by the South-East geo-political zone since its formation in 1998. The possibility of the North retaining PDP 2023 presidential ticket is high.
Umahi is joining the APC, which is believed to have agreed in principle to allow the Igbo ethnic nationality produce the Presidential candidate in 2023. The Board of Trustees of the party led by Senator Walid Jubrin will meet on Wednesday on the same subject matter ahead of the NEC meeting.
Uncertainty in APC raises dust
Meanwhile, some South-East stakeholders are worried that the APC may not zone the presidency to the South-East given the support of the South-West to the party as well as positioning of some South-West leaders to succeed President Buhari.
A top PDP leader said: ‘’Daring PDP to zone the presidential ticket to South-East or you leave for the APC is not the solution. Has the APC zoned the slot to the South-East? How will you fence off South-West in APC? Have you got South-West APC leaders to back down? What happens if you left PDP for APC and the ruling party zones the presidential ticket to another zone?’
A source privy to the development told Vanguard that the only way Umahi may have a rethink is if the PDP allows the South-East the exclusive privilege to produce its 2023 presidential flag bearer.