In significant show of solidarity and unity of purpose, presidential aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the South East have demanded that the party’s presidential ticket for 2023 should be zoned to their area.
This was part of their resolution at their meeting in Abuja on Saturday, February 9, 2022. The aspirants at the meeting were: Anyim Pius Anyim, former Senate President, Peter Obi, erstwhile Anambra State governor, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, renowned industrialist and Dr. Nwachukwu Anakwenze.
In a communique by the four, read by Anyim they maintained: “We have agreed to work together as a team and we will work together to ensure that a South Easterner emerges as PDP flag bearer.”
Other decisions by the presidential aspirants included: “We intend to consult with other zones on this issue and it is based on fairness and equity.
“In doing so, it is important to note that we have always supported other zones and we now expect them to reciprocate.”
They added, “it is to our knowledge that more aspirants may have obtained forms under PDP and we hope they will join us later.”
Responding to questions from reporters on whether they were working towards presenting a consensus candidate from among them, Anyim said: “When we get to the bridge, we will cross it. We will work together in the interest of the Party, in the interest of the nation and in the interest of the South East.”
Asked if the South east PDP governors are in support of the meeting, the former President of the Senate said the aspirants were not in the position to speak for the governors.
There have been voices of disagreement in the PDP since the 37-member Zoning Committee appointed by the party to thrash out the knotty issue of zoning in the party, reportedly threw the contest for the presidential ticket open to all regions.
While reaffirming that Zoning remains sacrosanct as enshrined in the party’s constitution, the Committee chaired by Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, however, said that due to the exigency of time, it will throw open the presidential ticket to all aspirants. The statement attributed to Ortom, which he has however denied, has raised controversy within the ranks of PDP membership.
The South East members of the party have insisted that for purposes of fairness, justice and equity, the ticket should be zoned to the region, having produced neither a president nor vice president since 1999.