11 October 2017
By Ugonnabo Ngwu and Chidiebere Ejike
Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, leaders of northern extraction on Tuesday insisted that their region must be allowed to produce the presidential candidate of the main opposition party for the 2019 election as had been agreed by the party.
At a meeting held in Abuja to harmonise the position of the North ahead of PDP’s national convention, the northerners were unanimous in their views that party’s zoning formula for the 2019 polls must be respected.
It would be recalled that the Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, had last month declared his bid to run for the plum office in 2019 even as former Cross River Governor, Donald Duke, recently told Channels TV that it is his right to seek to be President.
His words, “It’s my constitutional right to run, you can’t zone my right, I think it’s unconstitutional to zone and besides like I said to you I was born a Nigerian, I wasn’t born an Easterner or Westerner, I was born after Independence. So my outlook is Nigerian.”
Fayose and Duke are both politicians from PDP as well as southern Nigeria. Fayose, whose tenure as governor elapses next year, chairs the PDP Governors’ Forum.
Speaking at the commencement of Tuesday’s meeting, the convener, Prof. Jerry Gana asserted that irrespective of what anyone thinks, the PDP leadership has agreed that the North will produce the party’s presidential candidate in the next general election.
The former minister of information disclosed that the meeting was called to enable the leaders of the North brainstorm on how to present a common front at the National Convention scheduled tentatively for December 9.
His words, “Whatever the Fayoses of this world may be doing, the party has resolved that the presidential candidate will come from one of the three zones in the North”.
Also speaking, Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Senator Jubril Aminu said the North stands with the decision of the party leadership to zone the presidential ticket to their zone.
He dismissed party members from the South aspiring for the PDP presidential ticket as” making useless noise. ”
Addressing the meeting, Chairman of the PDP National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi assured that the zoning formula approved last year by the party’s National Convention in Port Harcourt, the Rivers capital, remained valid.
“On presidency it is clear. There is no confusion. The Presidential ticket is zoned to the North and the National Chairmanship to the South,” said the former Kaduna governor.