Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has kicked against plans by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to zone the 2023 presidential ticket to the South, insisting that Nigerians have right to determine who govern them.
There has been agitation over which region should produce the next president with both the APC and the people playing the high and seek game.
Today, PDP National Executive Committee (NEC) adopted the report of the zoning committee led by the Enugu state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, which zone the party chairmanship slot to the North.
Political pundits have said that with the zoning of the party chairmanship office to the North, the South may likely get the presidential ticket in the zoning arraignment.
While there are insinuations that the PDP may throw the ticket open, the zoning committee had last week Thursday in its communique said, “the decision of the PDP Zoning Committee is in line with the Constitution of the Party on Zoning and rotation of Party and national offices in the interest of justice, equity and fairness.
Consequently, the current offices being held by officers in the Southern Zones of the country, namely, South West, South East and South South zones , should swap places with the offices currently in the northern zones of Nigeria, namely, North West, North East and North Central zones.”
This is even as the party at its 94 NEC meeting, deferred the zoning of presidential ticket to another NEC meeting.
Explaining what transpired at the NEC shortly after the meeting, the spokesman of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan said that while the party NEC adopted the zoning committee report, the Bala Mohammed report on presidential ticket was scheduled to be discussed in another NEC meeting.
The Mohammed-led committee, which was mandated to review party’s performance in 2019, had recommended that the 2023 presidential ticket be thrown open.
But former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has rejected the issue of the zoning, stating that Nigerians have right to determine who govern them comes 2023.
Atiku who spoke briefly at the NEC meeting, said that PDP has the right to determine its rules on how the party should be governed but added that the people of Nigerians also have the right to determine who governs them.
In what seem to be a move against zoning of the presidential ticket of the party, Atiku said: “where the President comes from has never been the problem of Nigeria. There is no such thing as a President from Southern Nigeria, or a President from Northern Nigeria.
“There is only one President from Nigeria, for Nigeria, by Nigerians. Talking about inclusions, I would like to see a new National Working Committee of our party, our great party that has sizable numbers of our youth and woman.
“The decision of NEC today will either see PDP into the villa in 2023 or not. Since the inception, this party has faced serious challenges and have risen above sentiments to solve those challenges and moved forward.
Taking an excursion into the history of the party, Atiku explained how the party was formed and how the Constitution first came about, adding, ” this thing that is in-built in our party, we should be able to use it, to embed it, to make sure today’s deliberations is in the best interest of our party in the best interest of Nigeria, which will ultimately give us the victory that we asked for, to go back to the villa.”
Also speaking, the Chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum and Sokoto state governor, Aminu Tambuwal pledged the support of the members in working together to rescue the nation and wining 2023 general elections.
Tambuwal urged PDP leaders to muster every wisdom, experience and decorum in addressing issues at the meeting, adding that Nigeria interest should be the first.
“Every interest, personnel or collective, that is not for Nigeria should be set aside. Also, that interest should be the interest of our great party for us to win 2023 elections.
“We should please try as much as possible, to be very sober and reflective in what we are going to do.
“I assure you that our governors are team working together, given the necessary support for our party and we shall cony to do that,” Tambuwal said.
The acting chairman of the party, Elder Yemi Akinwonmi said, “today is a day of making history in the life and survival of this great party PDP, which Nigerians are eagerly waiting to take them out of the challenges of socio political vices created by the political party in power, the APC.
“At this juncture, I call on us to understand our differences, reflect them and when not necessary, forget them. We should look at our party and Nigeria and bury all our personal differences, because PDP is above any personal, or individual or collective consideration.”