2023: PDP to subject zoning recommendation to democratic process

• As Senator Ekwunife returns Anambra guber poll nomination forms

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Tuesday clarified that it has not adopted any position on zoning ahead of the 2023 presidential elections, saying that the recommendation of the Governor Bala Mohammed-led 2019 Election Review Committee will be subjected to the democratic process of consultations.

Making this declaration in a statement issued by Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary, the party further explained that it has not taken any decision on any of the recommendations proposed by the committee.

Recall that while submitting the report recently, the committee Chairman and Governor of Bauchi State had said that the committee believed it is better to allow the emergence of the PDP 2023 presidential candidate through a merit-based process rather than zoning.

The position had angered many stakeholders especially in the South-East who are hoping that the party will zone the position to the region.

Tuesday’s statement pointed out that the PDP immensely appreciates “the overwhelming interest by the majority of Nigerians in the PDP as their national rallying point to elect a pan-Nigeria, unifying and people-oriented leadership that would rescue our nation from misrule, come 2023.”

According to the party “such unprecedented public interest and confidence in the PDP is responsible for the widespread discussions and enquiries on the recommendations of the Committee on the Review of the 2019 Elections.”

The statement added: “The PDP notes that the recommendations will be subjected to its democratic process by relevant organs of the party and consultation across all national interests.

“While our party appreciates the enthusiasm by Nigerians on our nomination processes, the PDP assures that its decision on zoning will be the product of wide consultation, discussions and consensus building, taking into consideration the aggregate aspiration and hope of the generality of the Nigerian people.

“Our party has however noted the disposition and line of discussion from various political interests across the six geopolitical zones of our country in this regard, and at the appropriate time, the collective understanding of Nigerians will prevail.”

Meanwhile, the lawmaker representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, Senator Uche Ekwunife, has submitted her governorship and expression of interest forms to the PDP, promising to reform the security architecture in the state if elected governor.

She was at the PDP national secretariat in Abuja on Tuesday to submit the forms, expressing confidence afterwards that she will defeat her rivals to the ticket even as she dismissed talks of a consensus candidate as belated.

Speaking to correspondents after the submission, she said: “I ran for the House of Reps in 2007 under very stiff competition and by the special grace of God, I won to represent the good people of Anambra central.

“I was not a governor and you know that in that position, there is a limit to what you can do in terms of maybe giving a woman a ticket to come and run the election. But I worked with a lot of women and empowered a lot of them. I was the first that took women to Dubai to establish businesses for them but I can’t give a woman ticket to go and run an election.

“I encouraged a lot of women and in fact, a lot of women are under my watch and they have tried their best to get into elective positions.

“If elected governor, I will reform the security architecture. I will partner with the security agencies to make sure they are equipped with sophisticated weapons.

“I don’t see how a consensus arrangement will play out now considering the galaxy of men and a woman in the race. I am running to win, so I don’t see how a consensus arrangement will work. It is a bit late, it should have come before now,” she added.

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