2023: Zone presidential ticket to North – Group urges PDP
A political movement under the aegis of Justice and Equity Group on Wednesday made case for the zoning of the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party to the North in the interest of fairness and justice.
“A blanket ban on any region from contesting for presidency under PDP is manifestly and patently unreasonable, unjust, unfair and contrary to natural justice. It is wrong and will not fly in a democracy,” the organisation said.
The agitation came as Nigerians eagerly await the geo-political zone where the presidential ticket of the party would be zoned to in the 2023 general election.
The JEG, which is a group within the PDP, recalled that the presidency of the country when the PDP was in power at the centre, remained in the South for a total of 14 years when former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan were in the saddle, while the North, under late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua only retained power for two years.
The Chairman of JEG and former Deputy Majority Whip of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ahmed Muktar, in a statement in Abuja also reasoned that it would be in the party’s interest to abide by the earlier decision of its National Executive Committee which threw open the presidential ticket of PDP to all zones.
According to him, the best candidate, who could win the presidential election for the PDP and “change the terrible mess which the ruling All Progressives Congress has turned Nigeria into,” should be allowed to emerge from any zone in the country.
Muktar’s comment came in response to a recent statement issued by a former Commissioner for Information in Edo State and one of the former Spokespersons of Atiku Abubakar presidential campaign during the 2019 presidential election
Afegbua had among other things said that Atiku should quit his quest for presidency and support a Southern Nigerian candidate in the spirit of fairness, equity and justice as that would assuage the feelings of stakeholders from the Southern part of Nigeria.
However, the JEG maintained that it was undemocratic to ask a qualified Nigerian not to contest for presidency.
Muktar said, “We think that in the greater interest of the PDP, we should abide by the earlier PDP National Executive Committee decision that threw open the presidential ticket of PDP to all zones.
“Let the best candidate that can win the election for the PDP and change the terrible mess APC has turned Nigeria into emerge.
“While it is undemocratic to ask a qualified Nigerian not to contest for presidency, we agree substantially that Atiku Abubakar has had his time and opportunities.
“He (Atiku) was presented in 2018/2019 as the only one with the capacity, the financial muscle and experience to beat President Buhari. He fluffed the chance given to him by PDP. Age is also not on his side in 2023.
“Nigerians have become weary of his perpetual candidature. It may be time for him to give a younger person a chance.
“It should be noted that Obasanjo from the South contested against General Buhari from the North. Nobody mentioned that it was the turn of the North or South because different parties are governed by their own interests.
“The PDP should be governed by permutations that will give it victory…As a matter of fact, the North has better claims to the PDP ticket than the South in 2023.”
The group disagreed with Afegbua’s position that, “it will be against the run of play and natural justice for any aspirànt of Northern extraction to show interest in the 2023 presidential election within the PDP threshold.”
The JEG said, “Nothing can be further from the truth. Politics in Nigeria, under the 1999 constitution, is played by political parties, not interest groups, geopolitical groups or even individuals. It is political parties that can field candidates. Nigeria as an entity cannot field a candidate. The North or South cannot field a candidate too.
“It is disingenuous for anyone to mix up the fortunes and tactics of the political parties. In the APC, President Buhari from the North is about to complete eight years, so it is perfectly normal for APC to look for a candidate from the Southern part of the country to fly its flag in 2023.
“The matter is not the same in PDP, which is a distinct political party, governed by its rules and traditions. In PDP, under its constitution, the principle of zoning and rotation is respected.
“President Obasanjo from the South held office as President for eight years. By an accident of history, President Goodluck Jonathan from the South has also held the office of President for 6 years. This is a cumulative period of 14 years that the Presidency of Nigeria under PDP has been domiciled in the South.
“The Northern part of Nigeria has held the Presidency of Nigeria under PDP for less than three years under President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. So, where is the justice, equity and fairness in the demand that the PDP should choose their presidential candidate from the South?
“It makes no political sense and no amount of propaganda can change the facts. PDP is not APC. PDP members should not be confused with the politics of APC.” (Punch)