2023: Okorocha, Saraki join presidential race as APC rurbishes ‘circulating document’ on zoning

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Wednesday  denied zoning its 2023 presidential ticket to any part of southern Nigeria as being speculated in viral reports making the rounds in the  media space.

In the reports which went viral  Tuesday, the anonymous author  of the report stated that the APC had zoned its presidential ticket to the South-East, while that of the Vice President was zoned to the North, with other key positions spread round the different geo-political regions in the country.

Dismissing the report in a statement, Director General, Press and Media Affairs to Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee of the APC Mamman Mohammed, quoted Governor Mai Mala Buni as saying there  was no iota of truth in the report.

The Yobe state governor added that a decision on zoning of the party’s tickets would only be taken at the convention of the party coming up in February.

“The attention of His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Yobe State and Chairman APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Hon. Mai Mala Buni, has been drawn to media publications with purported zoning of offices allegedly announced by him,” the statement reads.

 He further said:  “His Excellency has, in clear and unambiguous terms, denied the said list, saying, it is false, baseless, unfounded, misleading and has nothing to do with him.

“The Chairman of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Committee said the party has not taken any decision at any fora on anything relating to zoning of offices.

“The publication is just a figment of the author’s imagination that has nothing to do with the Chairman and the party. The public is hereby urged to disregard the purported list as it is misleading and completely false.

Governor Buni urged the press to resist unverified stories and rumours, and to always verify all issues related to the party assuring that the doors of the party are always open.”

 Okorocha joins race

In a related development, the rank of presidential aspirants on the platform of the APC swelled Wednesday with the declaration of Senator Rochas Okorocha (APC Imo West) for the contest.

Making the declaration Wednesday through a letter forwarded to Senate President Ahmad Lawan and read to other lawmakers,  Okorocha said his joining the race  was to offer Nigerians  the leadership that would  take Nigerians out of the wilderness .

 Okorocha, in the letter titled: “Nigerian President 2023 “, said the country at the moment needed ” a detribalized Nigerian who can unite our country, a leader with a compassionate heart, who will care for the poor and downtrodden and the masses of our country, a visionary leader who can create wealth for our teaming populace thereby, addressing the issues of poverty, insecurity and youth restiveness.”

The letter, in part, also informed the lawmakers of a proposed World Press Conference to be hosted by him Monday 31st January, 2022 at the Executive Hall of the International Conference Centre, Abuja at 11am.

 “As you are aware, the Independent National Electoral Commission has announced the time table for the conduct of 2023 general election, including that of the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

 “With elections drawing nearer as the days go by, our citizens are concerned about the quality of persons to run the affairs of our nation, one who can address some of their major concerns. 

“It is as a result of these concerns that I wish to hold a world press conference on my intention to run for the office of the President of our dear Nation. I therefore wish to solicit for your prayers as I make known my intention”, he said.

 Available records show that Okorocha is a 3-time presidential aspirant who made his first outing 20 years ago on the  platform of  the All Nigeria Peoples Party(ANPP).

He sought the party’s ticket alongside Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Nnia Nwodo and Chief Harry Akande.

In  2007, he ran on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP)  coming second to late President Umar Musa Yar’adua in a contest that also had  Prof Jerry Gana, Gen. Mohammed Gusau and Gen. Buba Marwa.

 Saraki too

 Similarly, former Senate President Bukola Saraki has indicated interest to contest the 2023 presidency.

His declaration is coming after former National Leader of the All Progressives Congress Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Ebonyi Governor Dave Umahi, Senate Chip Whip Orji Kalu and former Imo Governor Rochas Okorocha declared a similar interest.

The two-term governor said he has a strong record of delivering and experience in making tough decisions.

Born December 19, 1962,? Saraki is the son of Second Republic Senator, late Olusola Saraki.

“As we prepare for the journey ahead, I hope we can all join hands to get the ticket of our great party, PDP, and build a nation that works for all of us.

“Join me to make our communities safer and provide real opportunities for you and your families. I have a strong record of delivering and experience in making tough decisions. Let’s build a new Nigeria that works for EVERYONE!” the former governor said.