A group, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Leaders Forum, has urged the party’s leadership to reject the Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi led Zoning Committee’s report, ahead of the Oct 30 national convention.
The forum made the call in a statement signed by its Convener, Mr Olusola Salau in Abuja on Tuesday.
Salau urged the PDP National Executive Committee (NEC) to jettison what it described as the self-serving proposal by maintaining the status quo.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)reports that the committee has zoned the office of national chairman to the North, while recommending that the present elective positions should be swapped between north and south.
He stated that the composition of the committee was faulty as it was lopsided and deliberately skewed to satisfy the interest of a section of the country.
“For instance, Benue has five representatives, while Osun has no single representative.
“Even when that observation was raised at the meeting, a certain governor from the South-South bullied everybody to ignore something as fundamental as that,” Salau said.
He alleged that some members of the committee used the opportunity to serve their political interest to the detriment of the party.
“We have it on good authority that one member of the committee who is a political office holder in the South-South offered monetary inducement to sway other members from toeing the logical path.
“We know who this person is and we are aware that he is nursing a presidential ambition. We do not have any objection to his ambition.
“However, we will not accept a process that will make anyone fetch the presidential ticket of our great party through a manipulative process,” Salau said.
He described the procedure by which the zoning committee presented its report as obnoxious.
“The process is not known to the established pattern of how similar previous reports were presented in the party.
“The normal practice is that the report must first be laid before the NEC for consideration and the party will then approve and announce final ratification just like the Gov. Bala Mohamed-led fact finding committee on the 2019 presidential election.
“Its report was laid before the NEC and approved. But in this case, the governors and zoning committee acted in bad faith and if care is not taken, the party will pay dearly for it in 2023,” he said.
Salau said that the current zoning arrangement in the PDP stipulated that the national chairman’s position was supposed to remain in the South.
“Must we punish the South alongside the outgoing chairman? Why is the committee in a hurry to throw away the baby with the bath water?
“For the avoidance of doubt, there have been two zoning arrangements in the history of the PDP: one in 2007 and the other in 2017 which was to lapse in 2025.
“This arrangement gave the south the privilege to produce the national chairman of the party till 2025.
“If there is to be any zoning, it should be among the three zones of the South and in that case, the South-West that has never occupied the position of the PDP National Chairman is more deserving of the position.
“This is even more so that the next two governorship elections before the 2023 general election will be in Osun and Ekiti.
“Thus, what will the PDP take to the South-West to enable it give our party a deserving victory in the two crucial elections?, he asked.
Salau said that PDP had a pedigree of being the only political party in Nigeria that came to intervene when the country was at a boiling point as it is presently.
“Be it at the time that the country was transitioning from military junta to civilian rule or when the country was burdened with a leadership vacuum that necessitated the doctrine of necessity, the PDP has always been the party that steers the country off the cliffs.
“This time around, Nigeria needs the PDP to come to its rescue once again.
“Our party needs to put someone with capacity and experience forward to do this job; not some characters that can’t even put the national interest ahead of their political ambition in a simple party assignment.
“We believe that Nigeria has never been this divided and broken and it is expedient on the principle of natural priority that another person from the North, who is more qualified and experienced should be our party’s candidate for the job to get Nigeria fixed,” he said.
Salau added:“It is not the responsibility of the PDP to toe the line of ethnic divisiveness that our main opponents are known for.
“Ours is a party built on principles and mutual respect for all shades of Nigerians.
“It is on this note that we humbly demand that the NEC of our great party reject in its entirety the submissions of the zoning committee.
“Zoning arrangement is a responsibility of the highest decision making organ of the party, not some self-serving individuals or their cohorts,” he stated. (NAN)