2023: PDP panel rejects zoning, wants contest for presidency thrown open

March 18, 2021
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Bala Mohammed
Bala Mohammed

OBINNA EZUGWU

A panel set up by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in January 2020, to review its performance in the 2019 presidential election has recommended that the contest for the party’s 2023 presidential ticket be thrown open to all parts of the country

Presided over by Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed, the panel noted that while many argue that the South East and North East zones should be given special consideration, having had the shortest stints in power, there are many qualified and competent persons for the presidency in all parts of the country.

Presenting the report of the committee to the leadership of the PDP in Abuja on Wednesday Mohammed noted that, “In line with certain unwritten conventions of the nation’s history, many people think that, for fairness and equity, the North East and South East geo-political zones that have had the shortest stints at the Presidency, should be given special consideration in choosing the presidential flagbearer of the party, for the 2023 elections.

“However, we should not lose sight of the fact that Nigeria is endowed with many capable and very experienced leaders in every part of the country.

“Moreover, the exigencies of the moment demand that nothing should be compromised in choosing the leader with the attributes to disentangle the country from the present quagmire. Therefore, we think that every Nigerian, from every part of the country, should be given the opportunity to choose the best candidate, through a credible primary election as a way of institutionalising a merit-based leadership recruitment process for the country.”

The committee equally recommended that the party should canvass the point that report of the 2014 constitutional review conference be adopted to proffer solution to some serious issues in government.

“The endemic frictions in inter-governmental relations, especially between the states and the Federal Government, suggest that the present constitutional arrangement is grossly inadequate to contend with changing democratic and demographic challenges.

“Our party must, therefore, push for either a review and endorsement of the 2014 Constitutional Conference Report or for a new constitutional conference to be organised.

“In short, the party should advocate for genuine restructuring that fosters decentralisation, engenders national unity, guarantees the security of life and property of all Nigerians, no matter where they reside in the country, and which promotes economic prosperity and the overall well-being of all our people.”

The committee also recommended that the PDP should “set aside a certain percentage of elective and appointive offices, for youth and women.”

“The endSARS movement, a few months back, was the testimony we needed, that a new generation of young, bold, ambitious, and detribalised Nigerians have taken centre-stage and that their legitimate clamour for inclusion and good governance can only be ignored to the peril of the party and indeed Nigeria” the committee added.

It also stated that the party must strongly resolve to promote internal democracy, discourage ‘god-fatherism’ and ensure that the will of the people prevail in the choice of candidates to run for electoral positions.

In his opening remarks during the presentation, the party’s national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, said President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressive Congress (APC) led administration, has brought Nigeria to the status of a failed nation, and therefore would be defeated easily at the 2023 polls.

Secondus said the party is putting no stone unturned to ensure it regains federal power in 2023, noting that the presentation of the report of its 2019 Elections Review Committee is going to be the take off point and “keystone to our subsequent actions ahead of 2023.”

The PDP chairman called on Buhari and his APC administration to “embark on immediate electoral reform that will ensure free, fair and transparent elections in the country and put Nigeria in parity with other developed democracies in the world.”

Secondus said, “Having failed roundly in the delivery of any dividend to Nigerian people, and having brought the country to a status of a failed nation with an unprecedented collapse of all structures, APC knows as a fact that Nigerians would not want to do anything with them again.

“As a result, they are putting all studs on the way to conducting credible elections. But we need to warn that the only thing keeping this country alive today is the fact that APC will be history by 2023. They are aware of this reality and they are trying to use their usual propaganda to create a different image of themselves, but Nigeria knows better and cannot be fooled again.

“Relying on the recommendations of this report, the NWC will work with think tanks, consultants and all critical stakeholders of our great Party to enhance the new PDP narratives that will help address the yawning absence of leadership in the country. We will continue to build the party along the line of the recommendations with a view to cultivating wide support base with utmost urgency towards 2023.

“Aside the frightening security situation which we all know, just this Monday National Bureau of statistics released fearful data on unemployment situation in the country to be over 33%, by the time you minus minors and aged in our population, you will discover that virtually all our youth population are unemployed. By 2015 when PDP left office it was at 4.31%. Why then should we be surprised that the nation is being overwhelmed with banditry when our useful population are ignored and abandoned. With all these sour tells of our country, PDP has no option but to redouble their efforts to ensure that good governance is returned to the country. Everything shows very clearly that President Buhari and his APC have no capacity to deliver any good to this country.”

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