•Insists no zone will be denied opportunity to contest
•Northern group reechoes party’s position
Unmoved by loud agitation for a presidential candidate from the southern part of Nigeria, the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, said unequivocally that its presidential ticket was open to all the six geopolitical zones of the country. The party stated this position when it received a letter from a group, Northern Advocate for Good Governance (NAFGG), which advocated a presidential candidate of northern Nigeria origin in the 2023 presidential election.
It was the first time the main opposition party would be stating its position on the presidency clearly ahead of the next general election.PDP maintained that no zone would be denied the opportunity of contesting in the election.NAFGG echoed PDP’s position, saying all the geopolitical zones, including those that had produced the president before, should be eligible to vie for the presidential ticket.Receiving the report from the group on behalf of the national chairman, Deputy National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Abdullahi Ibrahim, commended NAFGG for taking the initiative to support equal opportunity for all the geopolitical zones.
Ibrahim stated, “This is a commendable initiative. We are doing the best we can in that regard, if Nigerians like you find it pertinent to assist us in achieving that objective.“The new National Working Committee (NWC) under the leadership of Senator Iyorchia Ayu has already resolved this is exactly what it would pursue as an objective in ensuring that the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria were given equal opportunity to bid for the available offices to rescue and rebuild Nigeria.”
Ibrahim further expatiated the party’s position. He said, “For the opportunities that are available, you heard the convener talking about providing equal opportunity for Nigerians to bid for the available political offices. Those who are interested in pursuing the presidency, we are opening it for every Nigerian to pursue and many other offices that are national in outlook, Nigerians are free to pursue.”When asked if he meant that the presidency should be thrown open, he responded, “Of course!”, adding, “Yes, that is what it implies. As we speak, every Nigerian is bidding from the South-east, from the South-west, and from the North. No section of Nigeria will be denied an opportunity to contest or aspire. It is left for Nigerians to decide where they want to allow the presidency go.”
Ibrahim insisted the opposition party believed in equity and fairness.Asked if PDP might zone its presidential ticket to the South-east, in deference to former vice presidential candidate and ex-governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi’s demand, Ibrahim stated, “What Peter Obi said was, if it favours the South-east and as one Nigeria, who comes from that zone, he will contest. But it’s a question of allowing everyone to bid; it’s a platform that is opened to all Nigerians on equal and justifiable process. If you think you are suitable, come and throw your cap in the ring and the remaining will be story.
“We will not condone twisted and half-baked conclusions. From 1999 to 2023, the south would have ruled Nigeria for 14 years, while the north for 10 years. Why should we then prioritise the south to take over when the north has a shortfall?”Unfortunately, Ibrahim has deliberately left out the fact that, of Nigeria’s 62 years since independence, the north has ruled cumulatively for 41 years and six months, while the south has only been in power for 20 years and six months, thus making his argument disingenuous.
The list below on power sharing since 1960 suffices:Abubakar Tafawa Balewa: 1960-1966; Azikwe Nnamdi: October 1, 1963-January 16, 1966; Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi: January 16, 1966-July 29, 1966; Yakubu Gowon: August 1, 1966-July 29, 1975; Murtala Mohammed: July 29, 1975-February 13, 1976; Olusegun Obasanjo: February 13, 1976-October 1, 1979; Shehu Shagari: October 1, 1979-December 31, 1983 and Muhammadu Buhari: December 31, 1983-August 27, 1985.Also, Ibrahim Babangida: August 27, 1985-August 26, 1993; Earnest Shonekan: August 26, 1993-November 17, 1993; Sani Abacha: November 17, 1993-June 8, 1998; Abdusalami Abubakar: June 8, 1998-May 29, 1999; Olusegun Obasanjo: May 29, 1999-May 29, 2007; Umar Yar’Adua: May 29, 2007-May 5, 2010; Goodluck Jonathan: May 29, 2010-May 29, 2015; and Muhammadu Buhari: May 29, 2015 till date.
However, in the letter to National Chairman of PDP, National Coordinator of the northern group, Mallam Mahmoud Mohammed Katun, called for priority to be given to zones in the north that had not had the opportunity to govern Nigeria to guarantee equity, fairness, and justice.However Katun said, “But, even more importantly, it is our considered position that political parties should prioritise experience, competence, and capacity in choosing or zoning their presidential tickets.“Both the North-east and North-central parts of the country have very distinguished and eminently qualified people to run for the president of Nigeria in their various political affiliations. In fact, we dare any group to suggest a candidate that can rival the likes of Atiku Abubakar, Bukola Abubakar Saraki, and Bala Mohammed, all eminent and qualified aspirants from the aforementioned zones.
We are of the view that if the principle of zoning is to be observed to the latter, both the North-east and North-central should be considered, as they represent two out of three zones that have not produced the president of Nigeria as things stand.“We further call on political actors in Nigeria across party divides to look deeply and come up with a more holistic approach to zoning, in order to produce the best hands, who can rescue Nigeria from its current abyss.
We wish to state unequivocally that as a group, the Northern Advocates for Good Governance seeks equity, fairness and justice in zoning the presidency of Nigeria in 2023, so that this can bring about good governance to Nigerians at all levels.”
Newswire Law and Events Magazine is Out. It's a collector's item. Get one - or two,or more - for yourself and loved ones.