PDP NEC to Decide Which Zone Gets Presidential Ticket Says Gov Ortom

PDP NEC to Decide Which Zone Gets Presidential Ticket Says Gov Ortom

Contrary to widespread insinuation that Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has thrown open to all aspirants from every part of the country its presidential ticket; the Chairman of the 37-man zoning committee of the Party and Governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom, has disclosed that only the National Executive Committee will decide which zone of the

Contrary to widespread insinuation that Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has thrown open to all aspirants from every part of the country its presidential ticket; the Chairman of the 37-man zoning committee of the Party and Governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom, has disclosed that only the National Executive Committee will decide which zone of the country will produce its presidential candidate.

The National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party at its 95th meeting set up a 37-man committee with a mandate to recommend to the party zoning of the 2023 presidential ticket and other elective offices.

Governor Ortom who is to submit the committee’s report to the Party Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu today said he expects the National Working Committee to deliberate on the report and then fix a date for a National Executive Committee Meeting (NEC) where a robust debate would ensue before a final decision is taken.

Addressing newsmen at the end of the meeting, Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, said: “By the Grace of God, we have unanimously adopted a position that will be sent to the NEC of our party that appointed us.

“The good news for teaming supporters of the PDP and Nigerians is that we have resolved and everyone of us-the 37 members, unanimously adopted the position that we are going to present to NEC.”

But, speaking in a television interview this morning, Governor Ortom said its committee had resolved that no one speaks to the press on the issue until after the NEC meeting but noted that there were three schools of thought on the subject matter during the committee meetings. One position was that it should be zoned to the south. Two was that the North has a deficit in the power rotation since 1999 and three is that the position should be thrown open to every zone of the country.

It is being reported that the Committee in its recommendation had noted that zoning is part of the PDP’s constitution but due to the exigency of the time the presidential slot should be thrown open to the all aspirants more so that aspirants from different parts of the country have already obtained nomination forms for the position.

The position was underscored by Governor Ortom in his interview when he noted that the Party is more concerned in presenting a candidate that has the capacity to “unite the country and would best represent the interest of our party

“We want someone who can lift Nigeria out of its bottom position and deliver it from all the insecurity problems and economic challenges”

On a personal note he said: “I want power to move to the south but it is only the NEC that has the final say. It is wrong for the media to be reporting that the PDP has thrown its presidential ticket open to every part. At NEC, there will be a robust discussion of all arguments and what will be decided will be what will help our country and what is best for our party’s interest, looking at the larger picture of winning election so that we can rescue Nigeria”

Buttressing the committee’s position further, Governor Ortom said “PDP got it wrong in 2015 and they paid dearly for it. They don’t want the same mistake to repeat itself in 2023. We have learnt from our mistake of the past”

With commendation for the National Assembly for enacting the Electoral Act and appreciation to the President for assenting to the bill, Governor Ortom said: “We are not going to allow rigging again with the transmission of election result electronically. We want the votes of the people to count. We don’t want to rig but we would not allow our opponents to rig too. We know we are ahead of them in everything”

He said the PDP is better organized than its opponents, “we had rancor free party primaries where we used consensus arrangements and our opponents have copied that; we have issued dates and guidelines for our primaries and so on. It shows we are better organized and prepared to win the election”.

There has been a national debate on which zone of the country should produce the next president after 8 years of President Muhammadu Buhari who is from the Northern part of the country. While the APC has agreed in principle to choose its next presidential candidate from the southern part of the country, the PDP said they are not bound to follow what the APC example arguing that while the PDP presented President Jonathan from the south in 2015, the APC presented General Buhari who went on to win the election.

The scheming about which zone gets the presidency is continuing. Even in the APC which has proclaimed zoning the presidential ticket to the South, there are still some persons from the North who are interested in vying for the position. One of them is Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state, North Central Nigeria who has already indicated interest in running for the position. He had an elaborate declaration in Abuja, the federal capital territory last weekend.

It is yet to be seen how the permutations will pan out in the two parties. One thing that is sure is that both parties want to win the next election and that exigency may make them to compromise on their avowed policies and principles including zoning of the position.

Ayo Aluko-Olokun
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