PDP zones presidency to the North for 2019 elections
The national leadership of Peoples Democratic Party has zoned the Presidency to the North for 2019 elections in a strategic move to reinvent itself.
The Acting National Chairman of the party Uche Secondus also said that the party would bounce back in the next elections.
The party said it had learned its lessons and would never repeat any mistake of tampering with its zoning arrangement under whatever guise or reason.
This was part of the recommendations of Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu-led PDP Post- Election Review Committee.
The party which said it had drawn a roadmap towards the 2019 general election and for future electoral success, explained that the decision to zone the Presidency to the North is meant to assuage any ill-feelings over any perceived breach of the party's zoning principle.
The committee also recommended that, as a matter of urgency, if PDP must heal inflicted wounds, it should constitute a strong reconciliatory panel made up of party leaders to facilitate the reconciliation of aggrieved members at all levels.
It also recommended that the party reverts to the practice of having two deputy National Chairmen as entrenched in the 2001 Constitution of the PDP.
Secondus,in while speaking in Abuja on Wednesday, noted that the party was prepared to bounce back, having lost the March 28 Presidential election to All Progressives Congress, APC, after 16 years as the ruling party.
Secondus, who urged all party members to put the interest of the party above personal ones, stressed that with the present status of the party, it had become imperative for all stakeholders, leaders, elders, groups and members to kill their ambition and sacrifice for the growth of the party
According to him, “The National Working Committee, NWC, has agreed to move this party forward. We will obey the principle of zoning and have agreed that in 2019, PDP presidential candidate will come from the north.
“NWC has agreed that we will never repeat the mistake of the past; we will follow the submissions made by this committee.
“By the time it passes through all organs of the party, we will implement the report to the letter. Today marks a turning point in our struggle in the last 16years; we are now a robust opposition and our senators are in control of the National Assembly. We are the best organized party in the country.
“Some interest groups had tried to scuttle the committee. Our NWC will review and implement the recommendations that are very urgent to it. We need sacrifice, not display of inordinate ambition that will destroy us.
“Members must obey the constitution and follow the principle of zoning. With this, the party's presidential candidate will come from the North. The party must go back to the principle of its founding fathers.”
Secondus said the anti-graft posture of President Muhammadu Buhari must be holistic. Therefore, the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, should go after former Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi, as well as other APC governors and leaders.
He also said the non-appointment of ministers by the President, four months into his inauguration, was a gimmick and playing game with Nigerians, adding that he only wanted to be a sole administrator.
Chairman of the PDP post-election committee, Senator Ekweremadu, in his remarks, noted that one major reason why PDP lost in the March 28 presidential election was its non-adherence to the principle of zoning.
He said: “In particular, since the last President of PDP extraction came from the southern part of Nigeria, it is recommended that PDP's presidential candidate in 2019 general election should come from the northern part of the country in accordance with the popular views expressed in the submissions to the committee.”
According to Ekweremadu, the committee also recommended that if the party must get it right, it should strip the President and governors of the role of party leader, against the backdrop that the title was not constitutional.
He said the move would allow for the party's national chairman to take total control of the party as it used to be during the defunct National Party of Nigeria, NPN, when the National Chairman was supreme and highly respected, just as he said the committee also recommended the adoption of Direct Primaries to elect all party candidates for any election.
It also recommended that the party should, henceforth, be self-funding, relying on membership registrations and enforcement of dues and levies as its primary sources of income at all levels in line with its constitution, as this will stop the prevailing situation where those who paid the piper dictated the tune.
The Ekweremadu-led committee, which was inaugurated by the Acting National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, on May 5, and saddled with the responsibility of carrying out nine terms of reference, had 16 other members drawn from the NWC, National Assembly, Board of Trustees, BoT, among others.
In the report, which contained 24 recommenda-tions, the committee also recommended a genuine review of the party's constitution to address issues of conflict in roles and ensure the supremacy of the party's organs over and above elected and appointed office holders of the party.
According to the report, “the zoning principle, which has been the strength of the party, should be strictly adhered to as a matter of urgency at all levels.
“Candidates should emerge through direct primaries so as to reduce electoral disputes within the party and restore confidence and internal democracy. The appointment of persons to serve as members of election and appeal panels should be subject to a just, fair and transparent process.
“Candidates for elective positions on the party's platform must be credible, competent and above all, must have strong grassroots base, provide a robust conflict resolution mechanism in the party's constitution detailing the procedure and statutory body that will be responsible for resolution of conflicts arising from party's primaries and all other disputes.
“The party should strictly adhere to issues-based campaigns, following the party's manifestos, policy platforms and avoid all forms of hate messages during electioneering.
“The party should incorporate strong, popular and loyal party members in the campaign organization. Candidates should be allowed to nominate not more than 50 percent of the membership of their campaign organization.
“Ensure the integration of women, youths and persons with disabilities, who are party members, into the campaign structures at all levels. Campaign funds from all levels should be channelled through the party structures and not the candidates or individuals. Develop a campaign finance regulation to ensure the monitoring of campaign expenses.
“The party should strengthen its legal department to provide post-election support, especially in respect of post-election litigations. The party should coordinate and supervise all election activities of third party groups to ensure that they conform to extant laws and the party's ideological disposition.
“The party should revert to the practice of having two deputy national chairmen as entrenched in the 2001 Constitution of PDP.”
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