As the race for the 2023 presidential election hots up, different bodies, political actors and stakeholders are scheming on how to make sure their interests and ambitions are not thwarted by others and how they can stay ahead of the pack.
One of the issues on the front burner is that of zoning and where the next president of the country should come from. By May next year, president Muhammadu Buhari, a northerner, would’ve been at the helms of affairs for 8 years. Many have opined that, for the sake of fairness and equity, the country’s next president should come from the southern part of the country, with south east being touted as the most deserving zone to produce the next president.
Many personalities from the south, especially on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have declared their intentions to run for the presidency, with a handful banking on the likelihood of the party zoning the presidential ticket to the south.
However, reports emerged yesterday that the opposition party will not be adopting zoning and have resolved to throw open the presidential ticket.
The zoning committee of the opposition party, contrary to the expectation of its southern members, recommended an open race for the party’s 2023 presidential ticket.
The party’s 37-person zoning committee, which took the decision at the Benue State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja, on Tuesday, cited ‘exigency of time’ for its recommendation.
In what seemed as though the party is favourably disposed to the emergence of its presidential candidate from certain region, another reason the committee gave for jettisoning zoning is the high voter turnout in the North and the party’s determination to return to power.
According to a leaked document, the committee stated that although zoning was affirmed in the party’s constitution, exigencies of time made it to dump the arrangement.
But the recommendation of the committee generated angry reactions from organisations such as the Igbo socio-cultural group, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the Pan-Niger Delta Forum and the Middle Belt Forum with some of them saying it would affect the chances of the PDP in the 2023 polls.
But justifying its decision, the PDP committee, in the document titled, “Recommendations of PDP Zoning Committee,” stated, “ Zoning, as in our party constitution, is affirmed. In spite of the above, the ticket is thrown open, this time around due to the exigency of the time.
“Our party is encouraged to always make the issue of zoning very clear at least six months before sales of forms.
“Our party should commend the efforts of some of our contestants on the issue of consensus candidacy; the efforts should be seen to a peaceful and logical conclusion.”