DESPITE zoning party national offices to different sections of the country, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will not stop any aspirant who does not agree with the zoning principle from contesting any position of his/her choice.
The Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, made this declaration while inaugurating the 242-member national convention planning committee of the party as well as its 80-member finance committee in Abuja on Friday.
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state and his Akwa Ibom counterpart, Udom Emmanuel, are the chairmen of the planning and finance committees respectively.
The party holds its national convention on August 17, 2016 in Port Harcourt, Rivers state.
Makarfi’s declaration is coming at the heels of Chief Raymond Dopkesi’s rejection of the zoning of the office of the national chairman of the party to south west done by southern stakeholders of the party at a meeting in Port Harcourt on Thursday.
The media mogul from south south who had since been touring the country to garner support for his chairmanship ambition. is insisting on contesting the post since it had been zoned to the south.
Makarfi has now noted that even though the party stakeholders have on their owned re-zoned the positions meant for their zones to specifics geo-political zones, whoever was not satisfied with the arrangement can go ahead and contest his/her preferred position.
He said even though the zoning of the posts was in the party’s best interest, the PDP would not want to exclude anyone.
The party boss said: “I recall when we last met here to inaugurate the zoning committee, I mentioned on behalf of the caretaker committee that the convention will be an all-inclusive one and that offices to be contested for will be open to all and sundry.
“That doesn’t mean people cannot come together to zone offices.
“If zoning does not favour you and you still think that you have the best chance of winning, the political landscape is there, it’s up to you to campaign across the country to get enough delegates to win.
“Zoning doesn’t mean you have been excluded. Zoning is meeting of the minds and it is for every aspirant to assess by him or herself whether he or she has the capacity to garner more support than a collection of people that come together to have a common position.
“So, I don’t want people to have the impression that they have been excluded from the process. After all, in democracy, minority will have their say and majority will have their way.
“But in PDP, even when minority have their say and majority have their way, we have the culture of coming together to be one family so that both minority and majority work together for the good of PDP.”
Makarfi stressed that it was important for members to participate in the activities of the sub-committees set up for the national convention, admonishing that in conducting the convention, the members must observe the law, be brisk and orderly.
He also said the party must conduct and open and transparent convention.
Speaking on behalf of the committees, Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe state, represented by his deputy, Hon. Charles Iliya, observed that PDP had remained strong despite losing power at the centre.
He noted that some members who defected from the party did so because they were scared and were escaping from what may happen to them over one thing or the other they may have done.
According to him, the PDP did not even need to campaign since ordinary Nigerians were already doing so for the opposition party because of the poor economy situation of the country.
“Those in the other party are campaigning for us. If you don’t believe, go to the market and hear out traders,” he said.
In his remark, chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Walid Jibrin, warned that the party was not for sale and therefore advised delegates to the national convention to reject any aspirant that offered them money.
He also declared that the party would no longer allowed anyone to be forced on it as its national chairman.
Also speaking, speaking for the National Assembly PDP Caucus,
Deputy Senate Minority Whip,Senator Biodun Olujimi, assured that the present challenge in the party would not destroy it.
Stressing the importance of resolving it amicably, she pledged that PDP lawmakers were committed to the ideals of the party and would work in tandem with the party as soon as the national convention was over.