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LAGOS PDP LEADERS BACK ZONING

By NBF News

Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State are in support of the decision of the National Executive Council (NEC) that President Goodluck Jonathan should contest the 2011 presidential election on the ticket of the party.

The NEC decided last Thursday that since the election of the late Umaru Musa Yar'Adua was a joint ticket with his deputy, it was only fair to allow Jonathan to conclude the two terms of Yar'Adua by contesting the 2011 election.

Two chieftains of the party in Lagos, who spoke to Daily Sun expressed the view that President Jonathan would not contest for another term in 2015. According to them, the presidency would return to the North by 2015.

According to the Lagos deputy chairman of the party, Tunde Salau, 'you have to understand that the party has a policy on zoning. The election that brought Yar'Adua to power was a joint ticket with his deputy. Unfortunately, one of them died.'

'That Yar'Adua died does not mean that the ticket is no longer valid. At that level, it should be a return to office for second term. We can't go against a decision taken earlier by the party. We can't change the rule in the middle of the game. It is not logical that the North must produce the next president because of the unfortunate death of former president Yar'Adua.

'When it comes to 2015, the argument that a Northerner should be president would be relevant. Jonathan won't venture to contest in 2015. He would certainly not seek third term in office.'

To Alhaji Demola Sadiq, 'The decision of the NEC is to show that we maintain the principle of zoning and that was the obligation placed on us to ensure there is internal democracy. Former president Umaru Yar'Adua and President Jonathan had a joint ticket of two terms. What the NEC had done was a wise decision. They gave respect to the rules and regulation of the party.'

'What they have done is in line with the constitution when it comes to the issue of Federal Character. What the party has done does not preclude others from contesting for the office of president if they so wish. Anybody from any part of the country can contest for president.

'If you remember, When Obasanjo and Atiku contested at the primaries in 2003, Barnabas Gemade and Bubakar Rimi also contested even though they are from areas to which the party did not zone the presidency. All those who wanted to contest were given the chance to do so at the primaries.

'In the case of President Jonathan, since Yar'Adua died, the deputy is merely going to complete the tenure. They had a joint ticket.'

Chief Koku Kehinde, leader, Ifako Ijaiye PDP
'Zoning should be done in such a way that it would bring about unity and give the minority the opportunity to be in government. From my understanding, Jonathan is to continue with the tenure of Yar'Adua.'

I think he should be allowed to complete the tenure since they had a joint ticket in 2007.'

Jide Ladehinde, youth leader, Lagos PDP
'Since it is a joint ticket, why not allow him to contest? It is only fair that he should be allowed to contest for the presidency. Those opposed to it have their own right. It means that they don't see it as a joint ticket.

I don't think even Jonathan would want to contest in 2015. Certainly in 2015, the party would come up with another candidate and it is automatic that it should go to the North. The zoning policy will remain an eight-year tenure.'

Chief Abayomi Kuye, Mushin PDP chairman
'The decision of the national executive is a sign that zoning stays in PDP. It is what brought members of the party together from all parts of the country. Yes, Jonathan can contest. But zoning of offices remains. Jonathan is to complete the tenure of Yar'Adua and that is the reasonable thing for the party to do. I don't foresee people revolting against it.'