The Igbo Leadership Development Foundation (ILDF), the New Generation Leadership Development Foundation (NGLDF) and others have threatened to withdraw support from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) if the party fails to zone the 2023 presidential ticket to the South East.
Thanking patriotic citizens from all parts of the country who have thrown their weight behind the push for the emergence of Nigerian President of Igbo extraction, the group warned the leadership of the PDP to stick to the provision of its Constitution.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, the Director, Public Affairs of ILDF, Dr. Law Mefor, cited provisions of the PDP Constitution to back up his argument, adding, “the rotation and zoning principle was engrained into the PDP party’s Constitution in 2009. Article 7 (2) (c) of the PDP Constitution states: ‘In pursuance of the principle 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.’
“Any political party which chooses to ignore this prevailing national political sentiment does so at its own peril; and should be prepared to forgo the support of the South East in particular and that of well-meaning Nigerians who believe in fairness, equity and justice in general.
“ILDF wishes to warn that there will be consequence if our efforts at promoting peace and unity in Nigeria through dialogue is sabotaged; and if the hope and aspiration of the South East to produce the President of Nigeria in 2023 is frustrated and unduly dashed through such machinations.
“In specific terms, the ILDF will go all out in mobilizing the South East to get even with any political party which believes or acts as though the South East does not count in the current political equation.”
Faulting Bala Mohammed Committee report, which recommended that the party presidential ticket should be thrown open, the Igbo group said, “all the political parties ought to flow with this national understanding. PDP, APC, and other major parties cannot be moving North when power is supposed to be moving South, if they hold the unity and continued corporate existence of this country dear to heart.
“It is in this context that Igbo Leadership Development Foundation found the Governor Bala Mohammed-led PDP Post-Election Review Panel report submitted to the Prince Uche Secondus-led NWC very vexatious, provocative and unacceptable and indeed condemnable.
“This report has attempted to repudiate the principle of zoning and rotation of the presidential seat between North and South Nigeria, which has brought so much stability and sanity to the polity since the return of the country to democratic governance in 1999.
“Such party leaders pushing for the jettisoning of zoning and rotation of Presidential seat when their zones have filled the office based on the same principle, are promoting injustice in an unhealthy and ungentlemanly equivocation, which goes to reinforce the belief by many that there is no honour and decency in politics in Nigeria, particularly in the PDP. You recall that a one-time governor and now senator once called the PDP ‘Papa Deceive Pikin’ and rightly so.”
Cautioning the PDP against repeating what happened in 2015, the group said:
“We in ILDF can only remind such leaders in the PDP and indeed in all political parties who now believe that zoning no longer matters, to refresh their minds and recall that the one reason the PDP lost power in 2015 was because of repudiation of zoning which presupposed that the North should complete its eight years under former president Umar Yar’dua.
“We need not remind those politicians who believe that the PDP will return to power at the center through elite conspiracy to read the handwriting on the wall and see a repeat of history in the making. The protest votes, which swept the PDP out of Aso Rock is fermenting again and the leaders who are goading their Political parties along the inglorious path have only themselves to blame if they do not perish the plot forthwith.
“ILDF wants to place on record that we recognize the fact that all these surreptitious moves to scuttle zoning in the political parties is aimed at stopping the South East from producing the President of Nigeria in 2023, being the only zone yet to take a turn on that count in the Southern part of Nigeria.
“Consequently, we call upon the critical stakeholders of the PDP in particular and all the other political parties and indeed all well-meaning Nigerians to urgently and publicly denounce the Bala Mohammed report.” (Daily Independent)