The Justice and Equity Group (JEG) has made case for the zoning of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket to the North “in the interest of fairness and justice”.
JEG, which is a group within the PDP said under the administration of the party, the South was in the helms of affair for a total of 14 years, when former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr Goodluck Jonathan were in the saddle, while the North, under late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua only remained in power for two years.
Prince Kassim Afegbua, an erstwhile Commissioner in Edo State and one of the former spokespersons of Atiku Abubakar presidential campaign during the 2019 presidential election, had in his press release, said among other things, “For me, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar should quit his quest for the presidency and support a southern Nigerian candidate in the spirit of fairness, equity and justice as that will assuage the feelings of stakeholders from the Southern part of Nigeria”.
The group in a statement, Wednesday, by its Chairman and former Deputy Majority Whip of the House of Representatives, Hon (Engr) Ahmed Muktar, stated that “it will be in the party’s greater interest to abide by the earlier decision of its National Executive Committee (NEC), that threw open the presidential ticket of PDP to all zones.”
It added that “the best candidate, who can win the presidential election for the PDP and change the terrible mess which the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has turned Nigeria into, should be allowed to emerge from any zone in the country.”
However, the Justice and Equity Group maintained, stoutly, that it was undemocratic to ask a qualified Nigerian not to contest for Presidency.
According to the group’s statement, “We think that in the greater interest of the PDP, we should abide by the earlier PDP National Executive Committee decision that threw open the presidential ticket of PDP to all zones.
“Let the best candidate that can win the election for the PDP and change the terrible mess APC has turned Nigeria into, to emerge.”
The group also said, “While it is undemocratic to ask a qualified Nigerian not to contest for Presidency, we agree substantially that Atiku Abubakar has had his time and opportunities.
“He (Atiku) was presented in 2018/2019 as the only one with the capacity, the financial muscle, the experience to beat President Buhari. He fluffed the chance given to him by PDP. Age is also not on his side on 2023.
“Nigerians have become weary of his perennial and perpetual candidature. It may be time for him to give a younger person a chance.
“It should be noted that Obasanjo from the South contested against General Buhari from the North. Nobody mentioned that it was the turn of the North or South because different parties are governed by their interests.
“The PDP should be governed by permutations that will give it a victory.
“A blanket ban on any region from contesting for presidency under PDP is manifestly and patently unreasonable, unjust, unfair and contrary to natural justice. It is wrong and will not fly in a democracy.
“As a matter of fact, the North has better claims to the PDP ticket than the South in 2023.
“In the APC, President Buhari from the North is about to complete 8 years, so it is perfectly normal for APC to look for a candidate from the Southern part of the country to fly its flag in 2023.
“The matter is not the same in PDP, which is a distinct political party, governed by its rules and traditions. In PDP, under its constitution the principle of zoning and rotation is respected.”