Leaders and elders of the Peoples Democratic Party from the 19 northern states met in Abuja on Tuesday and condemned the presidential ambition of Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State.
The meeting was called by the leaders of the party in the region to harmonise their position on the zoning arrangement of the party ahead of the 2019 general elections and the PDP national convention.
The region said no other part of the country would contest the party’s 2019 presidential ticket with members of the party from the region.
The convener of the meeting and a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, while welcoming delegates from the three geopolitical zones in the North to the meeting, said there was a need to elect the best candidates in accordance with the zoning formula of the party.
Gana said the party must insist on its zoning formula which also ceded the office of the national chairman to the South.
He said the recent declaration by Fayose to vie for the party’s presidential ticket was of no consequence.
The ex-minister added that the party’s position on the presidency in 2019 was already clear.
He said, “I want to appeal to you to give to the party the very best in the positions that have been zoned to us. Let us therefore give to the party, men and women of impeccable integrity.
“Whatever the Fayoses of this world may be doing, the party has resolved that the presidential candidate will come from one of the three zones in the North.”
Also speaking on Fayose’s presidential declaration, a former acting National Chairman of the party, Dr. Bello Haliru, called for sanctions, noting that zoning and rotation of offices have always been given a pride of place in the PDP.
He said, “Zoning and rotation are part of the PDP constitution. We must adhere to them if we are to keep this party alive. There are people who are bent on contesting whether the office is zoned to their place or not. We must discuss with the South, so that anybody who goes against zoning can be punished.
“We cannot afford to have people come to the convention and make a fool of themselves and ridicule the party.”
Also speaking before the meeting went into a closed-door session, the Chairman of the party’s National Caretaker Committee, Ahmed Makarfi, said he was happy that members of the party were ready to make sacrifices.
On the zoning of the Presidency to the North, Makarfi reiterated the commitment of the party to honouring the agreement.
He said he was happy that the Supreme Court had affirmed the powers of the party’s national convention to take decisions on behalf of the party.
Based on this, he said that those interested in elective positions should not be barred from doing so provided that the zoning formula would be respected.
He said, “The Port Harcourt convention remains valid and one of the decisions taken at that convention was zoning. Micro-zoning does not have binding effect.”