Six of the eight Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) southern Governors have insisted on having the party’s 2023 presidential ticket zoned to the region.
The Governors, at a meeting on Friday night, hinged their demand on the need for the leadership of the PDP to toe the line of equity, justice and fairness regarding zoning.
The six that attended the meeting, which was held at the Akwa Ibom Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja, were Governors Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu); Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Duoye Diri (Bayelsa).
Others were Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia); Nyesom Wike (Rivers) and Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom).
Governors Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta) and Godwin Obaseki (Edo) did not attend the meeting and they did not send anyone to represent them.
Governor Ikpeazu, who addressed journalists after the marathon meeting, hinged the Governors’ position on the resolution jointly taken by the 17-member Southern Governors Forum (SGF).
The SGF, which cuts across party lines, had, through a resolution adopted during the Forum’s meetings in Lagos and Asaba in 2021, insisted that power must shift to the South in 2023 after President Muhammadu Buhari would have served out his two terms of eight years.
Addressing journalists, Ikpeazu said:
“We have watched with keen interest the development in our party, especially concerning zoning.
“Our position is that first, we are committed to the unity of our party and we have worked hard to make sure that this party remains strong and viable vehicle to rescue Nigeria come 2023.
“Be that as it may, we want to draw your attention to the fact that we had agreed as Southern governors in Lagos and also in Delta that this party has to respect the zoning principle as enshrined in our constitution.
“And to that effect, we insist that the first thing to do is, zone the presidency to the south and we stand on that position.
“We have not seen any reason to change that position, because the party was founded on the basis of equity and justice.
“And we also think that equity and justice are important pillars that will ultimately stabilise our polity towards our journey in rescuing Nigeria”.
Speaking on the fate of some northern aspirants who had already purchased the presidential nomination forms, Ikpeazu said it’s left for the PDP leadership to take a firm decision on the matter.
“If you want to take a decision on a policy, you don’t look at problems on the face and you make a decision.
“You make a decision and remain firm on that decision. We think that what this country lacks today is our ability to dispense equity and justice. It may be difficult, it may be a bitter pill, but we need to stand with the truth”, Ikpeazu said.
On pressure being mounted by some of their colleagues and other stakeholders to have the ticket zoned to the North, Ikpeazu said it’s not his duty to speculate on what others are doing.
He said: “I want to reiterate the position of the Southern governors on this matter. It is not my duty to speculate on what others are doing.
“But you must ask yourself what is the truth; that if we do it today, will it serve the tenets of equity and justice?”.