A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bode George, has warned the party against leaving its 2023 presidential ticket open for all members to contest.
He believes while it is necessary to ensure the right candidate is fielded to vie for the highest office in the land in the coming elections, it is equally important to ensure such a position is zoned to a particular region.
“Yes, it is important to look at the characters of those who want to be president, but it is mandatory, it is legitimate for the party to say yes, this is zoned to the South or to the North; but to leave it wide open is combustible,” George said during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
His remark came against the backdrop of the controversy trailing the zoning of the PDP’s presidential ticket as activities build up ahead of next year’s polls.
While aspirants from the North seek to fly the party’s flag, their southern counterparts have continued to demand that the PDP’s presidential candidate emerge from the region.
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The Spinal Cord
Amid the debate that the PDP has produced a southern president for 14 years of its 16-year reign, George, a member of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), insisted that the party should zone its ticket to the South.
He said, “Whatever has been in the North after eight years must come to the South; whatever has been in the South for the last eight years must go to the North. It guarantees that commitment, it guarantees that oneness, it guarantees that you have a sense of belonging to this country called Nigeria.
“I am looking at now as an engineer, there is a political equation; when they conceptualise this idea, nobody in their wildest dream thought there could be another political party that could produce the president.”
According to the PDP chieftain, it is standard that zoning and rotation will be the heart of the party, and like its spinal cord that can lead to its death or make it cripple if broken.
“When you now say you want to throw it (zoning) away, are you telling Nigerians that it is only in certain parts of the country that you have people who have the competence or the courage to rule Nigeria? How can there be peace?” he questioned.
“My best friend is still a Fulani man and I have no qualms about that, but justice, fairness, and equity must be the dictating norms for our party going forward.
“Are you saying we don’t have anybody in the southern part? What we are telling people (is that) we have no right as a party to tell any individual (that) you cannot contest, because it will be illegal.”