By Madu Onuorah
The Governor Mai Mala-Buni Caretaker National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have run into a hitch over the zoning of party positions.
Global Upfront Newspapers (GUN) reliably gathered that members of the committee are not agreeing on the zoning arrangement which they see as a determinant to where the Presidential flag bearer of the party will come from in 2023, whether South or North?
The National Chairmanship position of the party was in the South South region being held by Edo born former Governor, Adams Oshiohmole, before he was sacked on June 25 at a special National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, climaxing the high political intrigues in the leadership of the party.
In Oshiohmole’s place, Yobe State Governor Buni, who was a former National Secretary of the party, was drafted to head the interim NWC for three months, a template drawn by the forum of Governors of the party.
The Buni-led NWC was charged with the responsibility of organizing a convention to elect a new substantive NWC. And to do that effectively, looking at the next general election in 2023, positions need to be re-zoned.
Most members of the party in the South, including some Northerners, expect the Presidential flag bearer of the party to come from the South after President Buhari’s eight-year tenure, in line with the zoning policy of the party.
For the Presidency to come to the South, the National Chairman should come from the North. But some are pushing for power to remain in the North and wants the National Chairman to go to the South East or the South South, meaning either Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo and Cross River States.
However, some powerful hardliners said to be protecting Muslim interests are pushing for a Northern Christian to emerge the National Chairman so as to leave open the possibility of either Northern or Southern Muslim to pick the Presidential ticket.
Both former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, group and some Northerners are at home with this arrangement as it provides a safe landing measure to avert crisis in the party this early, ahead of 2023.
But GUN learnt that the most vulnerable and powerless group of the party, the South East and some Christians from the South West and South South are kicking against this arrangement.
Our source said that both the interim NWC and other leaders of the party are divided on the issue of zoning and the move now is to come up with a zoning plan that would not aggravate the heightened tension in the party over which zone between North and South picks the President.
Members of the Caretaker NWC includes Governor Buni; North East as Chairman, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, South South Secretary, Senator Ken Nnamani, South East member, David Lyon, South South, member; Governor Isiaka Oyeyola of Osun, South West, member. Tahir Mamman, SAN, a professor of law, North East, member; Abba Ari North West, Senator Abubakar Yusuf representing the Senate, member, Hon. Akinriemi Olaide representing the House of Representatives., Mrs Stella Oketete from Delta represents the Women, James Lalu represents the Physically challenged, and Ismail Ahmad represents the Youth.