Stephen Ukandu (News/Features Editor)
The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, may be headed for turbulence in the weeks ahead as the various blocs and political bigwigs in the party strategise for 2023 presidential ticket of the party.
Governors of the party from Southern Nigeria have insisted that the presidential ticket of the party must be zoned to the South, just as it was ceded to the North in 2019.
The PDP Southern Governors who met Friday night in Abuja, vowed to stop at nothing in having their way.
They reinforced their earlier position taken at separate meetings in Asaba and Lagos late last year.
This position is coming on the heels of the alleged decision of the party’s zoning committee to throw the presidential ticket open to all the geopolitical zones.
Meanwhile, the insistence of the Southern Governors of the party in having the party’s ticket ceded to the South, has pitched them against two of their Northern counterparts, Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and Senator Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State.
Besides the duo, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, and former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, are all said to be spoiling for war with the PDP Southern Governors.
The Southern Governors met at the Akwa Ibom State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja where they reinforced their position after a review of various permutations and arguments being canvassed by different camps.
They argued that “a party founded on the principle of equity should be fair to the South by zoning its Presidential ticket to the South as it did in 2019 when the ticket was ceded to the North”.
Addressing newsmen at the end of the meeting, Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, disagreed with those who argue that zoning would reduce the fortunes of the party at the general election.
“We have watched with keen interest the developments in our party especially concerning zoning.
“Our position is that first, we are committed to the unity of our party, and we have worked hard to make sure that this party remains a strong and viable vehicle to rescue Nigeria come 2023.”
“Be that as it may, we want to draw your attention to the fact that we have agreed as Southern governors in Lagos and also in Delta that this party has to respect the zoning principle as enshrined in our Constitution, and to that effect, we feel that the best thing to do is zone the Presidency to the South, and we stand on that position.
“We have not seen any reason to change our position, because the party was founded on the basis of equity and justice. And we also think that equity and justice are important pillars that will ultimately stabilize our politics towards our journey in rescuing Nigeria.”
The PDP Southern Governors further said that the argument that it was already late to zone as some aspirants had already bought nomination forms do not hold water as zoning is not new to the party.
“Not being able to stand firm with the truth is the reason the country is in a huge mess today.
“If you want to take a position of policy, you don’t look at problems on their face and take decision. You take a decision and remain firm on that decision.
“We think what this country is lacking today is our inability to dispense equity and justice. It may be difficult, it may be a bitter pill to swallow but we need to stand with the truth,” Ikpeazu declared.
Some of the Governors that attended the crucial meeting were the host, Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State; his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Wike; and Seyi Makinde of Oyo State.
Others were Duoye Diri of Bayelsa State; and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State; Gov. Godwin Obaseki and Ifeanyi Okowa of Edo and Delta states were absent.
Meanwhile, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa has hinted that presidential aspirants of the South-East extraction might consider a consensus candidate if doing so became necessary for the zone to pick the PDP ticket.
The former President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, told Ikengaonline that aspirants from South-East were united in their bid to fly the PDP presidential ticket in 2023, saying that each of them had everything needed to fix Nigeria.
So far, only the former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi; former Senate President, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim; and Ohuabunwa from the South-East, had declared their interest in the race.