PDP Chairmanship Zoned to North, as Atiku Opposes Zoning Presidency
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday rose from its 94th NEC meeting in Abuja, insisting that the national chairmanship of the party should go to the North, a position that presidential hopeful, Atiku Abibakar fears may not be in his favour.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, who announced the decision of NEC while speaking to the media after the meeting said, “NEC adopted the report of the Ifeanyi Ugwanyi’s Committee on the Zoning of offices of the National Working Committee.”
Asked whether the issue of zoning of the 2023 presidential ticket was discussed and what decision was arrived at, he said, “The issue of the Governor Bala Mohammed committee came up and it was resolved that it should be deferred till another NEC meeting. Today’s meeting was to consider the Ugwuanyi committee report and that was what he did.”
The Governor Bala Mohammed-led committee on the review of the 2019 general elections recommended that the contest for the presidential ticket of the party should be thrown open to all eligible party members.
It was gathered that ahead of the Thursday’s meeting, the governors first held a meeting at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, late on Wednesday and later converged on the Rivers State Governors’ Lodge, in the early hours of Thursday.
But former vice president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar in his opening remarks during the NEC meeting appealed to party leaders to jettison zoning of the presidential ticket just as he appealed to them to uphold justice and fairness.
He said, “Where the President comes from has never been the problem of Nigeria neither will it be the solution. There is no such thing as a president from southern Nigeria, or a president from northern Nigeria. There is only one, a president from Nigeria, for Nigeria and for Nigerians.
“The Peoples Democratic Party has the right to determine its rules on how the party should be governed, the people of Nigeria have the right to determine who governs them.
“Those of us who served in the constitutional conference, which drafted the current constitution of Nigeria should remember that after we finished drafting the constitution, we all met as members of the constitutional conference and resolved to correct the injustice that was done to a particular part of this country.
“And we said, in whichever party you found yourself, your presidential candidate must come from the southwest, because Abiola had won the election, it was annulled. Not only was his election annulled, he was killed.”
He equally recalled how he rejected a plot by the party’s governors to deny the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo a second term.
Atiku said, “Distinguished members of NEC, in 2003, all the PDP governors met at the villa and said they were not going to support President Obasanjo for a second term, that I should run.
“I now referred them to the resolution of NEC, where NEC decided that power should remain in the South-West for eight years. How do you now want me to go against the resolution of NEC? And I turn it down. And we moved on.
“So, this country has a sense of fairness. This country has a sense of justice. This country has a sense of fairness. Therefore, this thing that is inbuilt in our party, we should be able to use it, to imbibe it to make sure today’s deliberations are in the best interest of our party.”
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