By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
Governors of southern states elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have said the party must zone its presidential ticket to the region in the interest of “equity and fairness.”
The governors gave this position after a closed-door meeting on Friday night in Abuja.
Addressing journalists on behalf of his colleagues, Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, said the earlier position of the governors on the zoning debate remains valid.
Ikpeazu said the party should adhere to its constitution’s zoning arrangement and rotate the presidential ticket to the southern part of the country.
“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 a 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 have 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 feel that the best thing to do is to zone the presidency to the south, and we stand on that position.
“We have not seen any reason to change our position, because the party was founded on the basis of equity and justice. We also think that equity and justice are important pillars that will ultimately stabilise our politics towards our journey in rescuing Nigeria.
“Let me tell you something, if you want to take a position of policy, you don’t look at problems in their face and make a decision. You make a decision and remain firm on that decision.
“We think that what this country is lacking 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.
The southern governors position comes amid reports that the party’s zoning committee recommended that the National Executive Committee (NEC) throw open the PDP presidential ticket.
While some members of the party from the South are demanding that the ticket be zoned to the region, those from the North want it to be thrown open.
Governors of Sokoto and Bauchi States, Aminu Tambuwal and Bala Mohammed, as well as former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, are said to be interested in clinching the PDP presidential ticket.
Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, had officially declared his intention to run for president on the platform of the PDP.