DESPITE having zoned its 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 their choice.
The chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, made the declaration, on Friday, in Abuja, while inaugurating the 242-member national convention planning committee of the party as well as its 80-member finance committee.
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and his Akwa Ibom State counterpart, Udom Emmanuel, are the chairmen of the planning and finance committees, respectively.
The party will be holding its national convention on August 17, 2016 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Makarfi’s declaration came on the heels of Chief Raymond Dopkesi’s rejection of the zoning of the office of the national chairman of the party to the South-West zone by southern stakeholders of the party at a meeting in Port Harcourt on Thursday.
The media mogul from the South-South, who has been touring the country to garner support for his chairmanship ambition, insists on contesting the post since it has been zoned to the south.
Makarfi stated that although the party stakeholders had, on their own, rezoned the positions meant for their zones to specific geopolitical zones, whoever was not satisfied with the arrangement could go ahead and contest their preferred position.
He said even though the zoning of the posts was in the party’s interest, the PDP would not want to exclude anyone.
“I recall when we last met here to inaugurate the zoning committee, I mentioned on behalf of the caretaker committee that the convention would be an all-inclusive one and that offices to be contested for would 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 himself 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,” the party boss said.
He also said the party must conduct an open and transparent convention.