OBIORA IFOH, Abuja
Northern leaders and elders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday converged in Abuja to harmonise its stand on the zoning arrangement of the party ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The region resolved to produce the Presidential candidate in 2019 saying nothing would alter the zoning formula of the party.Convener of the meeting and former Information Minister, Professor Jerry Gana while welcoming delegates from the North-East, North-West and North Central charged the party to elect the best candidates in accordance with the zoning formula of the party. According to him, the recent declaration of a Presidential ambition by Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose should be dismissed, adding that the party’s position on the Presidency in 2019 is already known.
“I want to appeal to you to give to the party the very best in the positions that have been zoned to us. Let us therefore give to the party, men and women of impeccable integrity. 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,” said Gana in his opening remarks.On his part, Chairman, PDP National Caretaker Committee Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi lauded the sacrifice of delegates to the meeting, saying the fact that they paid their way to Abuja, took care of their accommodation and feeding, is a pointer to their unflinching loyalty to the PDP project.
On the zoning of the Presidency to the North, Makarfi reiterated the commitment of the party to honour the agreement, stressing that those bent on indicating interest in elective positions should not be barred from doing so provided that the zoning formula is respected.”The Port Harcourt convention remains valid and one of the decisions taken at that convention was zoning. Micro-zoning does not have binding effect. If a position is zoned to the North and you are from the North and you come to buy form, we will sell to you,” he said even as he reminded party members not to forget that “people will not get tired of taking the PDP to court.”
He further called for unity without which, the party will find it difficult to stage a comeback to power in 2019.On the progress made so far in the reconciliation efforts by the party, Makarfi said the entire machinery of Labour Party in Osun State has resolved to join the PDP in a matter of days.For Dr. Ahmadu Ali, ex-national chairman of the PDP, the way forward for the party is a united front where “mini meetings” if they should hold “must get the approval of the national chairman.”Apparently worried by the show of interest in the national chairmanship, Dr. Ali called on the North to support the South-West’s aspiration.
He said: “Let us stop these mini meetings. Any of such meetings must get the approval of the national chairman. We must be ready to ensure that at the convention, the main issue, which is the national chairmanship of the party, is well handled. If we don’t vote the South-West, we can as well forget the party.”
Taking a slightly different position on Fayose’s Presidential declaration, former Acting National Chairman of the party, Dr. Bello Haliru called for sanctions, noting that zoning and rotation of offices have always been given a pride of place.”Zoning and rotation are part of the PDP Constitution. We must adhere to them if we are to keep this party alive. There are people who are bent on contesting whether the office is zoned to their place or not. We must discuss with the South, so that anybody who goes against zoning can be punished. We cannot afford to have people come to the convention and make a fool of themselves and ridicule the party,” he said.
Also speaking at the meeting, former Senate President, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu said the PDP must put an end to impunity and dictatorship as preparations for the convention intensify, even as he urged the party to leverage on its presence at the grassroots to return to power.”The PDP is a party that was formed to fight dictatorship; it’s an anti-dictatorship party. Let’s stop imposing candidates and allow them to emerge through electoral democracy or through consensus.We have representation in all the 774 local government s in the country. If we mobilise them, we will return to power,” Ayu said.
Present at the meeting were former Governors Ibrahim Idris, Idris Wada (Kogi), Ramalan Yero (Kaduna), Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), and erstwhile Ministers, Abba Moro (Internal Affairs), Adamu Maina Waziri (Police Affairs), Kabiru Turaki (Special Duties) and Zainab Maina (Women Affairs). Others included former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, former National Woman Leader, Ina Ciroma amongst others.
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