The Northern leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have reiterated their position to respect the zoning formula and have urged Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State to shelve his 2019 presidential ambition.
The leaders said the North has an “array of presidential materials” to contest the party’s ticket, cautioning the governor not to contest against the zoning arrangement in the party.
Fayose, who is from the southern part of Nigeria, recently declared his intention to contest for the PDP’s presidential ticket though it had been zoned to the North.
But speaking at the PDP Northern Leaders meeting, in Abuja, a former Minister of Information and Convener, Prof. Jerry Gana, said Fayose’s ambition should be dismissed.
“I want to appeal to you (Fayose) to give to the party the very best in the positions that have been zoned to us. Let us, therefore, give to the party men and women of impeccable integrity.
“Whatever the “Fayoses” of this world may be doing, the party has resolved that the presidential candidate will come from one of the three zones in the North,” he said.
A former acting national chairman of the party, Dr. Bello Haliru, who also acted as the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) chairman, said zoning and rotation of offices had always been a principle in the PDP and must not be jettisoned.
“Zoning and rotation are part of the PDP Constitution. We must adhere to them if we are to keep this party alive.
“There are people who are bent on contesting whether the office is zoned to their place or not. We must discuss with the South so that anybody who goes against zoning can be punished.
“We cannot afford to have people come to the convention and make a fool of themselves and ridicule the party,” he said.
The Chairman, PDP National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, also said the party’s decision on a northern presidential candidate remained sacrosanct.
“If a position is zoned to the North and you are from the North and you come to buy form, we would sell it for you. People would not get tired of taking the PDP to court,” he said.
Makarfi announced that the entire structure of Labour Party (LP) in Osun State had resolved to join the PDP in a few days’ time.
A former National Chairman of the party, Dr. Ahmadu Ali and a former Senate President, Iyorchia Ayu, emphasised the need to elect a credible person with track record of integrity at the December convention in order for the PDP to reclaim power in 2019.
Some of those at the meeting were former governors Idris Wada (Kogi), Ramalan Yero (Kaduna), Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Malam Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano) and Ibrahim Shema (Katsina).
Others were ex-ministers of National Planning, Abubakar Suleiman; Special Duties, Alhaji Kabiru Tanimu Turaki; Internal Affairs, Abba Moro; Police Affairs, Adamu Maina Waziri; Women Affairs, Hajiya Inna Ciroma; and Women Affairs, Hajiya Zainab Maina.
Former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu; Senator Grace Bent; ex-Political Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Prof. Rufai Alkali and BoT Chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin were also among many others who attended the meeting.