Chief Olabode George, a former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has urged the leadership of the party to zone its presidential ticket for the 2023 general election to the South, warning that dqoing otherwise will be a major monumental mistake.
The zoning committee of the party, led by Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, had recommended to the National Executive Committee (NEC) that the ticket should be thrown open so as to accommodate all aspirants.
However, speaking with Daily Independent, George, who is the Atona Odua of Yorubaland, said the PDP may lose the election if it jettisons zoning as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) might use it to campaign against it. He said, “It will be a major monumental mistake on the part of the party to throw the ticket open.
The zoning committee only recommended but NEC is yet to meet to take a decision on it. I am now appealing to them to do the right thing.
This zoning and rotation is the political spinal cord of our party, PDP. The founding fathers gave us the best gift and that is this zoning and rotation.
For us in PDP to say we are not doing any zoning and the other party is doing zoning, don’t you think it will become a campaign issue? When the campaign starts, what will we tell Nigerians, both North and South? Are we going to tell them that there is no more zoning?
“In the first place, why did NEC conceptualise the idea of zoning and rotation? It was to remove the perpetual friction on the issue of majority and minority, both North and South, that no part of Nigeria will be shortchanged.
“In the First Republic, during Tafawa Balewa era, the majority had their way while minority were onlookers, both North and South. So, the founding fathers of PDP came together and said let’s divide this place into six geopolitical zones and this took care of majorities and minorities.
“The founding fathers of the PDP decided to end ethnic dominion and came up with the idea of dividing Nigeria into six geopolitical zones – North-Central, North- East, North-West, South-East, South-South and South-West.
The leaders, thereafter, decided that the six top positions in the government – the President, the Vice President, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the party’s National Chairman, would be zoned among the six geopolitical zones.
“So, no zone, whether minority or majority, will go home empty handed. They also agreed that after eight years, all positions in the South will go to the North and all the positions in the North will come to the South.
“All these positions are zoned because of the necessity of national belonging and accommodation. Every section of this nation must have a sense of equitable participation in our national life. This has been the enduring pivot of our democratic experience since 1999.
“That guaranteed oneness, unity, and it removes intertribal friction alongside majority and minority conflict. So, trying to imbibe this sense of unity through zoning is good for this country. That our party will be silent on the issue of zoning is the greatest time bomb.
It is important that there must be a definitive statement by the party. To be silent will create anger in the city and will further exacerbate the division along tribal lines”.