Members of a group, Concerned Nigerian Citizens, on Wednesday, staged a peaceful protest at the national secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over zoning of the party’s presidential ticket.
They barricaded the entrance to the complex, demanding that the ticket of the party in the 2023 election should be zond to the South.
Southern Nigeria with 17 states has three zones, namely South-east, South-south and South-west.
The protesters held placards with some inscriptions like “It is the turn of Southern Nigeria to produce the President”, and “Stop frustrating Southern Presidency.”
They wondered why the PDP is yet to announce its decision on zoning a few days to the presidential primary.
The protesters are among many members and Nigerians who anxiously await the party’s final decision on zoning. They are also among many who have asked that the presidential ticket be zoned to the South.
The PDP had in March, inaugurated the Samuel Ortom-led zoning committee. The panel was asked to make recommendations on a zoning formula for the various electoral offices ahead of next year’s polls.
Although the panel submitted its report to the party’s National Executive Committee, no official announcement has been made on its recommendations.
There are, however, speculations that the panel has recommended that the presidential ticket be thrown open to all interested aspirants.
Already the PDP has screened 17 presidential hopefuls – from across different regions.
Addressing journalists, a leader of the group, Femi Osabinu, noted that the rotation of power in Nigeria, goes beyond the mere aspiration of political parties, but also a tool, for ensuring national unity and stability.
In this regard, he said candidates from southern Nigeria, must be allowed to occupy the position of President in the country come 2023.
“The established convention is that power must rotate between the North and the South. Hence a President of northern extraction follows that of Southern extraction and vice versa. Any consideration outside of this is foul and may destabilise the polity.”
He said by doing so, the party will be respecting the established convention of power rotation and contributing to the dire need, to restore stability and national cohesion, back into the nation’s polity.
“It is the turn of the Southern part of the country to produce the next President, and we believe that your party, should have no difficulty in coming out with a categorical declaration, on this very important issue, in the next few days. This must be done without delay. The principle of Federal Character is enshrined in the 1999 Constitution, as amended. Remember, there won’t be APC if there is no country called Nigeria. Let us put Nigeria first in our resolutions.”
The party’s next NEC meeting is scheduled to hold next Tuesday and it is hoped that it will announce its decision on zoning ahead of the presidential primary slated for May 28 and 29.
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