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Power shift: Southern leaders storm PDP secretariat

Posted by By FRANCIS AWOWOLE-BROWNE, Abuja on 2006/08/19 | Views: 432 |

Power shift: Southern leaders storm PDP secretariat


Against the background of upsurge in the agitation for the return of power to the North in 2007, Southern Leaders led by Ambassador Matthew Mbu Wednesday stormed the national secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) warning against zoning the presidency to the North.

Against the background of upsurge in the agitation for the return of power to the North in 2007, Southern Leaders led by Ambassador Matthew Mbu Wednesday stormed the national secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) warning against zoning the presidency to the North.

The warning came even as the Party National Chairman, Dr. Ahmadu Ali expressed regret that the partyís National Assembly members killed the controversial constitutional amendment, which should have resolved the knotty issues of zoning and power rotation.

The group under the banner of Southern Forum, comprising Ambassador Matthew Mbu, as the Chairman, Dr. Dejo Raimi, the Secretary, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Prof. Sam Ukpabi and a host of others, argued that the North has held power for 39 years in the last 50 years of nationhood, vowing that the claims by the North that the presidency is its birthright would be checkmated this time round.
Insisting that the presidency must be given to either the South-East or South-South, the leaders said that the PDP and indeed all other political parties must ensure that power remains in the South in the spirit of equity, justice and fairness so as to allow the section of the country that has never produced the president to do so to engender a sense of belonging.

On the claims of gentlemanís agreement in the PDP that power should return to the North, the Forum whose address was read by Dr. Raimi dismissed the claim as an afterthought, that could not be used to bamboozle the Nigerian people.

Faulting the claim, Dr. Raimi noted: "It is on record that despite the situation in the country that the South-West should produce the presidential candidate of your party in 1999, Alhaji Rimi contested with Chief Obasanjo at the Jos Convention and no one reprimanded him that he was violating an alleged gentlemanís agreement.

"In fact Chief Solomon Lar who was then the Chairman of the party, now an apostle of gentleman agreement, did not see anything wrong in Rimi violating the purported agreement. What is more, the 2002 convention in Abuja was keenly contested. Alhaji Abubakar Rimi and the erstwhile chairman of PDP, Engr. Barnabas Gemade gave Chief Obasanjo and Dr. Alex Ekwueme serious contest in the primary.

"The chairman of the party then, a northerner, Chief Audu Ogbe kept mute on the issue and allowed the two men to bastardize the gentlemanís agreement, if there is any. If the primary had been won by either Gemade or Rimi, would anyone have been talking about a gentlemanís agreement?"
The leaders commended the party and the federal government for its reforms which have helped lift the nation from the lowest ebb.

The Forum commiserated with the PDP over the dastardly killing of two of its gubernatorial aspirants in Lagos and Ekiti states, while urging the politicians not to see the game as a do or die, in the interest of peace.

Responding, Dr. Ali thanked the group for its solidarity with the PDP government, pointing out that such support would only propel the government to do more for the people.
He regretted that the issue of zoning and rotation, revenue allocation and so on which is heating up the polity now would have been resolved through the constitution amendment had it sailed through, lamenting that it was unfortunate that the lawmakers themselves who initiated the amendment bill were used to scuttle it.

Accusing the National Assembly members of throwing away the baby with the bath water, Ali maintained that the amendment should have been allowed to go on while areas they were not pleased with should be removed, and the entire system would have been better off.

He said the party will do what is right, fair and equitable when the time comes, saying he has the belief that intelligence is evenly distributed across all zones of the country, and therefore all are capable of administering the country.

The PDP boss, however, explained that the reform policy of the government would be institutionalized so as to outlive the present administration, adding that the commitment to reform continuation with zeal and vigour will be a major criterion for selecting the presidential candidate.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.