The immediate-past National Secretary of the Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sen. Ben Obi, has disclosed that the party has already zoned the vice presidential slot in 2019 to the South-East geopolitical zone.
He spoke in response to the tussle between the South East and South West geopolitical zones of the country over which zone should produce the running mate to presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Obi said that the zoning of the vice presidential slot to the South East was one of the cardinal recommendations of the Sen. Ike Ekweremadu-led committee which was set up to examine why the party lost the 2015 presidential elections and make recommendations on the way forward.
“After the 2015 election, the party set up the Ekweremadu Committee. The Committee recommended that the party should zone the presidency to the North and the vice presidency to the South-East. The National Working Committee, NWC endorsed the recommendations of the committee,” Obi was quoted by Vanguard as saying.
However, the South West zone is refusing to forego the chance of producing the vice president of the party, with leaders from the zone accusing PDP of maltreatment over the years.
A chieftain of the party from the South West, who was a member of the PDP Convention Committee, said, “Now that we have a candidate to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, we must be fair to the South-West which has been taken for granted in the scheme of things for quite a while now. Anything short of the Vice Presidency slot will not be acceptable to our people.
“Last year, a lot of intrigues played out at our convention and we were denied the opportunity to produce the chairman. A prominent Nigerian and one of our leaders, Bode George backed out of the race and a few others who couldn’t comprehend what was going on left for other parties.
“But we stayed on and were able to prevail on our people to have faith in the party. Now that the convention has come and gone, I advise our candidate to pick his running mate from the South-West to win majority of our people’s votes.”