Uncertainty is mounting in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as governors of Southern States last night maintained their stance on the selection of the party’s 2023 presidential candidate from the zone.
Rising from a meeting held at the Akwa Ibom State Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja, they vehemently stressed the need for the main opposition party to stick to its founding principles of equity and justice.
Present at the meeting were the host governor, Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Duoye Diri (Bayelsa), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia).
Ikpeazu spoke to journalists after the meeting, drawing the attention of the world to the earlier position taken by the Southern governors on the zoning of the presidency to the South.
He said the governors are standing firm on the resolution, which he said no reason to change.
Ikpeazu stated: “Gentlemen, we have watched with keen interest the developments in our party, especially concerning zoning.
“Our position is that first, we are committed to the unity of our party and we have worked hard to make sure that this party remains a strong and viable vehicle to rescue Nigeria come 2023.
“Be that as it may, we want to draw your attention to the fact that we have agreed as Southern Governors in Lagos and also in Delta that this party has to respect the zoning principle as enshrined in our Constitution, and to that effect, we feel that the best thing to do is to zone the presidency to the South, and we stand on that position.
“We have not seen any reason to change our position, because the Party was founded on the basis of equity and justice. And we also think that equity and justice are important pillars that will ultimately stabilise our politics towards our journey in rescuing Nigeria.
“This is our position and that is why we have met today.”
He dismissed suggestions that opening the ticket will enhance the PDP’s chances of winning the 2023 presidential poll, saying, “You haven’t told me why zoning we not give us victory.”
The governor however refused to be drawn to speculation as he insisted: “We don’t want to work on speculation.”
He also pushed back on the idea that having already allowed aspirants from all sections of the country to purchase nomination forms, it will be unfair to zone the presidency to a particular section, the stating: “Let me tell you something, if you want to take a position of policy, you don’t look at problems in their face and take a decision.
“You take a decision and remain firm on that decision. We think what this country is lacking today is our ability to dispense equity and justice. It may be difficult, it may be a bitter pill but we need to stand by the truth.
“See, I speak and I want to reiterate the position of the Southern governors. It is not my duty to speculate on what others are doing. But you must ask yourself, what is the truth? What it is, is that if we do it today we serve with fairness, equity and justice.”
The governors’ latest remarks come amid the inability of the Governor Sam Ortom-led Zoning Committee to arrive at a definite stance on the issues.
After its deliberations, the Committee recommended three options to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party including zoning the presidency to the South, throwing the ticket open or allowing the NEC to take a final position on their own.
Fourteen aspirants in all have so far purchased the expression of interest and nomination forms to vie for the PDP presidential ticket.