One of the Presidential aspirants of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, Thursday in Minna, Niger State, met with two former Military heads of state, Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar, declaring that the PDP did not zone the presidency ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Tambuwal was accompanied by former Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, former Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Mouktar Shagari, former PDP Spokesman, Plus Metuh among others, earlier had closed door meetings with both Generals Babangida and Abubakar.
The governor who spoke to newsmen after separate meetings with the duo, said zoning of the presidency to a particular region of the country had never been the main issue in any political party in the country since 1979.
According to him, “The main issue has been that political parties will throw out candidates and allow Nigerians to decide who to elect as their president. The emergence of former President Olusegun Obasanjo from southwestern part of the country in 1999 was a deliberate action by the political class to address a particular concern after the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election.
“Zoning of power to the southwestern part of the country was meant to assuage a particular situation at that time; not meant to completely erode the constitutional right of Nigerian citizens.”
He recalled that in 1979 the defunct National Party of Nigeria, NPN, presented Alhaji Shehu Shagari as its presidential candidate, the defunct Nigerian Peoples Party, NPP, had Dr Nnamdi Azikwe as its candidate, while the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN, had Chief Obafemi Awolowo as its candidate and there was nothing like zoning.
Tambuwal said “In 1993, the Social Demanded Party, SPD, had Chief MKO Abiola as its presidential candidate while Alhaji Bashir Tofa was the candidate of the National Republican Convention (NRC) and there was no zoning. Again in 2007, Chief Rochas Okoroacha from the southeastern part of the country, contested the presidency with the former President Umaru Yar’Adua. So when you look at the past, you will agree with me that zoning has not being the main issue in our political journey.
“What is paramount to PDP is how to win the elections in 2023 and not wasting all its energy on zoning controversy. This country at this point in time is dire need of a president with competence and capacity not a regional president.”
Meanwhile, ahead of its May 28 Presidential convention, a 37-member zoning committee set up by the party at the end of its 95th National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting will be inaugurated today.
The committee is expected to recommend to the party whether zoning would help it return to power at the centre in 2023 or not.
Appointed to serve in the committee are Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, his Enugu State counterpart, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Taraba State governor, Darius Ishaku, former Adamawa State governor, Boni Haruna and chairman PDP disciplinary committee, Chief Tom Ikimi (Edo State).
Others are Mao Ohuabunwa (Abia), Emmanuel Ibokessien (Akwa Ibom), Prof. A. B. C. Nwosu (Anambra), Abdul Ahmed Ningi (Bauchi) and Boyelayefa Debekeme who represents Bayelsa State among others.
Vanguard News Nigeria