By Dennis Essang, Joshua Omoloye and Isaac Job
- Southern govs, others demand ticket
- Tambuwal, Saraki intensify campaigns
- Edo helmsman Obaseki absent
A volcano waiting to erupt is what the People’s D e m o c r a t i c Party (PDP) has become unless a mutually acceptable consensus is reached between its major power blocks in the north and south ahead of next year’s presidential and other elections.
The bone of contention is its presidential ticket that the southern stakeholders led by governors are demanding should be zoned to them whereas their northern colleagues want thrown open. Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike is leading the South South charge, tasking the PDP to treat the geopolitical zone with fairness, justice and equity.
The governor noted that having consistently voted for the PDP since 1999, the party cannot at this crucial moment ignore the South-South’s contributions to its success. Wike gave the admonition during the meeting of PDP stakeholders in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, saying: “The South-South is the pillar of the PDP. If the South-South is the pillar of the PDP, they must be treated with fairness, justice and equity.
It is not only when it comes to work, it is not only when it comes to giving votes, that we will all remember that the SouthSouth is the pillar. When it also comes in terms of sharing, they should remember that this is the pillar of the party.” Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Wike charged his colleagues, National Assembly members and other stakeholders from the South-South zone to set aside their differences in the overall interest of the PDP: “We have all said that Nigerians are waiting for PDP to takeover in 2023.
That is true. But we cannot takeover if we are not united. We cannot takeover if we don’t work together.” He stressed that the only way PDP could wrest political power from the All Progressives Congress (APC) Federal Government in 2023 was for it to remain united. He said Nigerians are already disenchanted with the APC-led Federal Government that has through its anti-people economic policies inflicted hardship on the masses, The Trumpet gatherd.
According to the governor, APC’s poor governance is clearly manifest in widespread poverty in Nigeria, insecurity, poor electricity supply, scarcity of petroleum products. “It is for us to put our house together and make Nigerians proud. Because if we don’t takeover in 2023, Nigerians will never forgive PDP.
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All the opportunity abounds and so we must take this opportunity and make Nigerians happy.” The governor said PDP has realised its past mistakes, and when given another opportunity will not take Nigerians for granted as the ruling APC is doing today.
“Now that Nigerians have opened the door for us, we must make Nigerians happy. This (APC) government is a government of excuses. Every morning, one excuse. Every afternoon, one excuse, and in the night, one excuse. I’ve never seen a party that makes promise without fulfilling the promise.” Wike said the Federal Government declaration that it has deleted Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act smacks of corruption.
Present at the meeting were Governors Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta) andDouye Diri (Bayelsa). Other dignitaries included PDP national vice chairman (South-South), Chief Dan Orbih; Senator George Sekibo; House of Representatives Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu and its former Deputy Speaker Austin Opara; as well as former governors of Cross River and Rivers states, Senator Liyel Imoke and Sir Celestine Omehia.
Meanwhile, the extended zonal caucus of the Southwest zone of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday resolved that the PDP candidate for the 2023 presidential election should come from the South. The resolutions reached at the end of the meeting of the Southwest extended zonal caucus of the party, which was held at the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan.
The zonal chairman of the party, Chief Soji Adagunodo, in a communique he read at the end of the meeting, explained that the Southwest zone of the party was in support of the position of the Southern Governors’ Forum that the next President of the country should come from the South.
Three former governors from the zone, Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti); Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun) and Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo) attended the meeting. Oyo State governor and host, Seyi Makinde; National Vice Chairman of the party, Taofeek Arapaja; Bode George; Ekiti former deputy governor, Olusola Eleka and Senator Francis Fadahunsi from Osun were also at the meeting.
Adagunodo further stated that the party resolved that all its members in the zone should work towards winning the forthcoming offseason governorship elections in Osun and Ekiti states for the party.
“We also resolved that the unity of the Southwest is a non-negotiable issue; to this end, we demand that all dispute resolution mechanisms should be on the front burner. “The zone is desirous of fairness, justice and equity in the distribution of federal positions and appointments.
“We will support all efforts geared towards national cohesion through equitable distribution of federal positions and appointments among the geopolitical zones of the country,” the communique read. At the end of the meeting in Uyo, the SouthSouth resolved that the presidential ticket must be given to the zone during the party’s primary elections scheduled to hold in May 2022.
In a communique, the party leaders agreed among other demands that ability of the zone to sustain the party after it lost the 2015 presidential election should be rewarded by ensuring that the South South gets the presidential ticket for 2023 general election.
The communique reads in parts : “The zone is also fully in support of the position of the Southern Governors Forum that the next President of Nigeria comes from the Southern part of Nigeria.
“That the zone is worried over the state of insecurity across the country and calls for more concerted effort to enhance the operational capacity of the security agencies and the creation of State Police.
“The party stakeholders comprising all governors in the zone except Edo State’s Godwin Obaseki, National Assembly members as well as party chieftains presented other demands to the federal government on issues of urgent attention that bother the region.
Other demands as captured in the communique include: urgent steps by the federal government to reorganize the security architecture to fight insurgency and general insecurity , creation of state police and infrastructure in the zone. It further stated that the South South was unhappy with the violation of Niger Delta Development Commission’s Act and urged the federal government to to make the forensic Audit Report public for necessary implementation.
They also frowned at the situation where a Sole Administrator is used in the running of the NDDC against the provisions of the Act that established it and asked the federal government to reconstitute the legitimate Governing Board without further delay. It therefore frowned at the slow pace of work at East West road project linking the states in South South and call for speedy completion of the road .
The south south PDP leaders observed that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation( NNPC) should recognize the South South by siting infrastrctural projects in the area as it has done in other regions. They noted that despite the contributions of the zone to the economy of the nation, there is no major federal government presence in terms of infrastrctural projects in the region.
Meanwhile, a northern presidential aspirant, Senator Bukola Saraki, was to meet with PDP Senators. Saraki was President of the Eighth Senate between 2015 and 2019. The notice of meeting between Saraki and members of the Senate PDP caucus was contained in a latter signed by the Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe. The letter was also read by the Deputy Senate President, Omo-Agege, who presided over plenary on Tuesday.