The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has said members who have bought the presidential nomination and expression of interest forms across the geopolitical zones are free to contest its presidential primaries.
Mr Debo Ologunagba, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, made this known amid speculations that the National Executive Committee of the party could meet on Wednesday next week, and would take a decision on the party’s Zoning Committee report. The Punch reports that, Ologunagba explained if the party decided to zone its presidential ticket, it would not stop anybody from contesting the primaries. He added that the constitution gives all qualified Nigerians the right to contest and not be discriminated against. The PDP spokesman recalled that when the party zoned its presidential ticket to the South in 1999, the late former Governor of Kano State, Abubakar Rimi, decided to test his popularity on the field. Ologunagba recalled that during the party’s last national convention, some officers emerged through consensus, but a few others decided to test their popularity on the field. He, therefore, stated that this would be the same strategy that would be adopted by the PDP. The PDP spokesman added, “Our processes, our constitution are subject to the constitution of Nigeria. The constitution guarantees every qualified Nigerian be able to aspire to any position in this country. The party cannot stop anybody from contesting because that will be at variance with the constitution. “In 1999, the PDP zoned its presidential ticket to the South. Remember that at the Jos convention, late former Governor Abubakar Rimi of Kano State said he agreed with the party but said as a Nigerian he would contest and the party did not stop him. “Recently at the national convention, the party decided to zone certain offices. You will recall that at the national convention, three positions were contested: deputy chairman (North) deputy chairman (South), and national youth leader.” Ologunagba noted that a 37-member committee led by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State had submitted its report, which would then be considered by the National Executive Committee of the PDP on Wednesday next week. He noted that the NEC which is the highest decision-making body of the party would be the one to decide on whether there should be zoning or not. “The process of collecting forms is one that goes without any conflict with the party’s process as regards zoning. One should not stop for the other. The process of screening cannot stop the process of decisions with the party. If the party decides to zone or not to zone, either way, the screening will still be done. “If NEC says we go a particular way, as long as it doesn’t go against the constitution and the party, so be it,” he stated. The Ortom committee is understood to have listed about three recommendations which included zoning the Presidency to the South or throwing it open while there was also an option for it to be zoned to the North.
This article was originally published on Nigeria News