Atiku killed zoning -Kanti-Bello
The fierce insistence by some Northern leaders on producing the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) collapsed on Friday morning with the declaration of President Goodluck Jonathan as the party's flag bearer in the April presidential poll.
Jonathan scored a total of 2,736 delegates vote, more than triple that of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who scored 805 votes at the presidential primaries of the party.
Deputy Director-General of the IBB Presidential Campaign Organization, Senator Mahmud Kanti-Bello, however identified the choice of Atiku as the Northern consensus candidate as the reason for the collapse of the struggle to ensure that Section 7.2(c) of the PDP constitution is made effective.
The section states: 'In pursuance of the principles of equity, justice and fairness, the party shall adhere to the policy of rotation and zoning of party and public elective offices and it shall be enforced by the appropriate executive committee at all levels.' According to Kanti-Bello, the struggle 'died the day they named Atiku as the consensus candidate.'
The Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF) led by former finance minister, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, had picked the former vice president as its consensus candidate ahead of aspirants like General Ibrahim Babangida, former National Security Adviser, Aliyu Gusau, and Kwara governor, Dr Bukola Saraki. The fiery senator also maintained that with Jonathan's emergence as winner of the presidential primaries, the 'PDP has effectively jettisoned zoning principle,' which is enshrined in its constitution.
The Senate Majority Whip, whose opposition to Jonathan remaining in office beyond May 29, 2011, further stated: 'The choice of Atiku was faulty and it is there for all to see from the beginning. I knew from the day they named Atiku that this is going to be the result.
'I have nothing against Atiku as a person but the truth must be told. Atiku left the party and worked against the PDP. He later came back and then you handed him the consensus ticket. It won't work because so many people will raise eyebrow and that is what we saw. It is not unexpected and I said so that he is a wrong choice.
IBB a better choice
'General Babangida would have done better because he has a lot of influence and friends. If you look at the states where Atiku won, you will see that they are IBB strongholds such as Sokoto, Kano, Zamfara and Niger. Atiku even lost in his home state, Adamawa.'
Speaking further, Kanti-Bello said: 'We have said it as a party that zoning means nothing to us and I am just one member.
Majority said so and that is it. It shows that the section that talks on zoning is no longer relevant now. It is everyone to himself; no more zoning in PDP.' The senator, who refused to be drawn into what the choice of Jonathan portends for the PDP, insisted: 'I'm a good party man and the party has spoken. We will wait and see.' Interestingly, Jonathan won in Yobe and Kwara, the home states of Ciroma and Saraki respectively.