September 30, 2022

Ahead of Thursday’s submission of its report to the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the Samuel Ortom-led committee on zoning Tuesday met behind closed doors at the Benue Governor’s lodge, Asokoro, Abuja.

It would be recalled that the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party at its 95th meeting, set up a 37-man committee with a mandate to recommend to the party whether to zone the 2023 Presidential ticket or not, among other elective offices.




With members drawn from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, the party argues that the committee would come up with a position acceptable to its members particularly in the zoning of elective offices.

Addressing newsmen at the end of the meeting, Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom said, “by the Grace of God, we have unanimously adopted a position that will be sent to the NEC of our party that appointed us.




“The good news for teaming supporters of the PDP and Nigerians is that we have resolved and everyone of us-the 37 members, unanimously adopted the position that we are going to present to NEC.”

Addressing newsmen at the end of the meeting, Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom said, “by the Grace of God, we have unanimously adopted a position that will be sent to the NEC of our party that appointed us.




“The good news for teaming supporters of the PDP and Nigerians is that we have resolved and everyone of us-the 37 members, unanimously adopted the position that we are going to present to NEC.”

Although, Ortom was evasive on zoning, this medium gathered that it would urge NEC to throw the Presidential race open to all Nigerians irrespective of their zones of origin.

Some of its recommendations include the “affirmation of zoning as provided in the PDP constitution; ticket is thrown open, this time around due to exigency of time; Our party is encouraged to always make the issue of zoning very clear at least 6 months before sales of forms; our party should commend the efforts of some our contestants on the issue of concensus candidacy; the efforts should be seen to a peaceful and logical conclusion.




A source at the meeting told Vanguard in confidence that voting demography in the 2019 Presidential election won the argument in favour of throwing the ticket open rather than zone to a particular region.




According to him, “reference was made to the 10 states with the highest turnout of voters in the 2019 election. Of these 10 , 9 were Northern states and only Lagos made the list. Kano, Kaduna, Katsina had the highest number of voters’ turnout while Lagos came a distant fourth.




“The logic here is that aspirants should be allowed to test their popularity at the primary election but if they choose to adopt a consensus approach, that will be acceptable to the party. It is a position members of the committee were comfortable with.”




In 2019, the party zoned its Presidential ticket to the North, arguing that the zone needed to complete its slot following the death on May 5, 2010 of President Umaru Yar’ Adua who spent two years and 11 months only in office. As a result, 12 Northern aspirants gathered in Port Harcourt for the 2018 won by former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.




Party chieftains from the South have argued that in the spirit of equity, the favour should be returned this time to the South. However founding fathers of the party including Atiku and ex-Jigawa state governor, Sule Lamido continue to insist that as an opposition party, the PDP would dim it’s chances if it exclude a section of the country out of the Presidential race.




Meanwhile, former governor of Ekiti state, Ayodele Fayose has resigned his membership of the zoning committee.




In a letter sent to Gov. Ortom before the commencement of the meeting, Fayose premised reason for his resignation on his decision to join the PDP Presidential race.




“Having hinted during our last meeting of my intention to run for the Office of the President in the coming primary election and by God’s grace, the general election, it will not be morally right to continue to participate in the zoning debate being an aspirant myself.




“Therefore, my state has nominated the bearer of this letter, Dr Gbenga Faseluka to replace me,” the letter read in part.

At the meeting were Governors Darius Ishaku, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Taraba and Enugu states respectively; ex-governors Ahmed Makarfi (Kaduna), Boni Haruna (Adamawa), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina) and Sule Lamido (Jigawa).




Others were former Information Minister, Prof. Jerry Gana, erstwhile Minister of Special Duties and Inter Governmental Relations, Tanimu Turaki and Chairman, PDP Disciplinary Committee, Chief Tom Ikimi, among others.

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