The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that is bracing to upstage the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the uncertain 2023 polls due to the festering insecurity in Nigeria, may not have thrown its presidential slot open to all regions of the country.
Chairman of its Zoning Committee, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State says the insinuation in the media that his panel has thrown the presidential ticket of the party open is economical with the true position of things.
This is coming as Ohaneze Ndigbo, the umbrella body of the Igbo people of Eastern Nigeria has been busy condemning the purported PDP decision to throw it’s presidential ticket open to all zones, describing the claim as a political suicide.
President General of Ohanaeze, George Obiozor, speaking through the Igbo group’s Spokesman, Alex Chiedozie Ogbonnia, warns the opposition party against such a suicidal move, just as they wondered why PDP has decided to jettison zoning when it is the turn of the South and particularly the South East of Nigeria.
“For purpose of clarity, rotation and zoning principle was engrained into the PDP party’s Constitution in 2009. Article 7 (2) (c) of the PDP Constitution states: ‘In pursuance of the principle of equity, justice and fairness, the party shall adhere to the policy of rotation and zoning of party and public elective offices, and it shall be enforced by the appropriate executive committee at all levels.
“Obiozor deplored the unconscionable shifting of the goal post at the middle of the game, saying such unscrupulous violation of the zoning principle that has been well entrenched in the PDP constitution simply changes the rules of the game in order to deprive Ndigbo the opportunity to produce a president for Nigeria.
“It is a political blunder, and betrayal of our people, given what Ndigbo have suffered in our own country and most recently for supporting the PDP. Obiozor adds that history has never been kind to betrayers and the treacherous. The machinations and conspiracies to deny Ndigbo their due place in Nigeria is ingratitude that daily cries to God.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide reiterates the position of the Southern and Middle Belt Leadership Forum led by Chief E .K Clark that any party that does not zone it presidential ticket to the South should not expect the support of the Middle Belt and the entire South. It is therefore’ curious that the PDP should commit political hara-kiri at a time it is struggling for a fresh air”, says the Igbo group.
Continuing, it said “It is unfortunate that the PDP glamourizes inordinate ambitions; any political ambition that undermines nation building should be checkmated. One of the roles of a political party in a democracy is nation building and for the PDP to shirk its responsibilities is an unfortunate path to Golgotha.
“Let it be known that it runs contrary to the indomitable Igbo spirit to swallow any form of indignity, disdain or condescension from anybody or group. It is therefore; highly inconceivable that the Igbo will validate a party or group that runs roughshod over its sensibilities.”
Governor Ortom is however, insisting that the committee was being quoted on what it did not say. He was speaking when he appeared on the ‘Morning Show’ an AriseTV prime time programme, and accordingly queried why those who were not part of the meeting of the committee would want to “force words into the committee’s mouth.
The governor who frowned at the caption on the news bar while the interview lasted quipped: “I want to clear the insinuation that the zoning committee has thrown open the presidential ticket. I did inform the media that the committee has adopted a unanimous position to be presented to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party. Where did I say that the committee has thrown open the presidential ticket?
“The committee will present the report to NEC. It is NEC that has the final authority on the zoning of positions. As far as the committee was concerned, there were arguments that the presidential candidate should go to the South.
‘’While some said it should go to the Northern part of the country. There were others who were of the opinion that it should be thrown open for the best candidate who will be able to deliver good governance and make Nigerians feel like human beings again.
“As the chairman of the committee, we did not say that. So it is very wrong for anyone to insinuate that we have thrown the presidential ticket open. I am still repeating that, whatever we did, we have submitted our report to NEC. So it is wrong for the media to come out with a position despite the fact that they were not members of the committee.
“I came out to brief the media. So it is wrong completely. I did not say that. And like I said, NEC is the final authority on deciding where this position will be zoned to.”
Adding, he said when the party positions were being zoned before the National Convention, “NEC directed us that in zoning positions go and do it rightly without minding where the president will come from yet. That when the time comes for the presidential, a mandate will be giving to people and NEC will take a decision. That is what what we have done.”
The governor then implored the media not to, “crucify us. Don’t kill us before you get the answer because PDP have not brought up a report, insisting, ” that will be done by NEC.”
Ortom said the party leadership is “consciously working towards ensuring that the party gets it right thing this time. I believe that at the end, the right thing will be done,” stressing however that, “Preempting the committee’s work and NEC decision is not correct. I want to appeal that NEC will soon invite us to a meeting and then we can move on from there,” the governor stated.
“At the end of the day, the most important thing to the PDP is what the party can do to bring the economy and security situation back to normalcy,” because “If nothing drastic is not done about the present situation in the country, a time will come when even the Presidential Villa and other government houses will be taken over by the terrorists. They are already closing in on us and we seem to be helpless. Everyone must team up to fight for justice, equity and fairness.”