No more zoning, PDP National Chairman declares

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The Peoples Democractic Party, PDP has finally ruled out the issue of zoning, declaring that such idea is not just unconstitutional but dead.

The declaration has now formally paved way for President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, a Southerner from Bayelsa State to contest the 2011 Presidential election unihibited by alleged PDP zoning arragement.

Speaking with Journalist in Abuja today, National Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Okwesileze Nwodo noted that the party zoning arangement had severally being breached by party faithfuls and as such can no longer be respected.

According to him“There is no zoning on ground right now. Absolutely no zoning, because in 1999, there was zoning and only one northerner insisted on his alienable right in the Nigerian Constitution to contest against the zoning arrangement of the PDP.

“The PDP put its foot down and I wrote a letter to him and returned his cheque. That's Abubakar Rimi of blessed memory.

“In 2003, after four years of Obasanjo, candidates sprang up from across the country. They paid, they canvassed. Nobody returned their money, nobody wrote them that there was a zoning. Nobody! “In 2007, there were more candidates from Southern Nigeria than from Northern Nigeria and I think if that election was allowed to hold, without interference, maybe Peter Odili, maybe Donald Duke, maybe a Sam Egwu. Anybody could have won. They all paid. Nobody returned their money, nobody stopped them, nobody talked about zoning! They all contested. Why zoning now? Why?”

Nwodo disclosed that even as it had been observed in the breach, it could be revisited, but with the unanimity of all stakeholders in the party. “We jettisoned it, but we can revisit it. I am not afraid of revisiting it. If we think that we need to revisit zoning today, let us revisit zoning, but the one we did in 1999? No, no, it has been jettisoned by PDP itself.

“So, those who are talking about that agreement aren't following the history of the party. The party has never stopped anybody after 1999 on the altar of zoning, but if they want us to zone now, we go through the mill.

“We will sit from the National Working Committee, we will prepare a memo on the advantages and disadvantages of zoning.

We will take the memo to the caucus, the parliament and the government will make their input, on which way to go. We will take it to the Board of Trustees, we drink from their wealth of experience, the conscience of the party, we modify the scale with their input and then we have a final debate at the National Executive Committee, which takes decisions for PDP.

“But right now, nobody can get up and say there was zoning or no zoning in PDP. If we want to zone, we have to go through these, because that one isn't working anymore.” The National Chairman, however, assured all presidential aspirants on the platform of the party of a transparent presidential primary, that they would all be proud of.

“I don't see any problem with a lot of our members wanting to be presidential candidate of the PDP. What I promise them, as national chairman, is that there would be a repeat of Jos. It would be transparent, it would be a showcase and those who would watch it live on television, they would see that it is possible again to have such a thing in Nigeria and we can keep repeating it for the life of our country.

“That's the way things should be and that's the way they are going to be,” he added.