The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirants are divided over the zoning of the party’s ticket in next year’s election. While southern aspirants warned the party leadership not to cause confusion by abandoning the zoning principle adopted by the founding fathers, their Northern counterparts favour an open contest. Already, the meeting of National Executive Committee (NEC), the second highest decision making organ of the party, is sched-uled for Wednesday next week to deliberate on the recommendation of Governor Samuel Ortom committee on zoning of executive and legislative positions after the 2023 general elections.
The PDP aspirants, who were screened by the Senator David Mark-led presidential screening committee, however expressed confidence that the party would win next year’s presidential election, but called for a credible and transparent primary. All the 17 aspirants, who bought the PDP presidential nomination form, appeared before the committee to defend the claims included in their forms.
Among the documents demanded by the committee were membership card, tax clearance receipt, evidence of payment of membership dues among others. Former Ekiti State governor Ayodele Fayose, said he was asked to talk on the stomach infrastructure policy of his government, when he held sway in Ekiti. Fayose said he told them of the importance of stomach infrastructure, adding that he “made it very clear that if I become president of Nigeria, I will have Minister for Stomach Infrastructure and welfare of the people.
“You can tar all the roads here, you can do every good works on infrastructure, but when the people are not happy, when people are not looked after, not in a situation where you say Abacha loot must be shared in the market to nobody. “So for me stomach infrastructure is part of being supportive of the ordinary Nigeria, as will be necessary.” Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, who hosted the southern governors meeting, however said, after appearing before the screening committee, that the “party is supreme. If the party has spoken, we will all abide by what the party has said.”
Former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi spoke in the same vein, stating that the final decision rests with the party. “I can’t have a thought; I’m a member of a party. If the party says this is where they want to go, if you are a member of an organisation, you respect that organisation. Meanwhile, the PDP has warned party officials, who would conduct today’s 3-man ad hoc and national delegate primaries that it expects transparency in the conduct of the exercise. The party in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary Debo Ologunagba, declared that it has zero tolerance for impositions and infringements.