The National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kola Ologbondiyan, has disclosed that the party has not started discussions on the zoning arrangement of candidates for the 2023 presidential election.
The PDP spokesman was reacting to reports of the planned defection of the Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
There were reports last week that Umahi told the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) at a meeting in Abuja of his decision to leave the party for the ruling APC.
It was learnt that the governor also told the PDP NWC led by the National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, that the APC would protect the interest of the South East in the 2023 elections.
But speaking on Monday while featuring on Arise Television’s Morning Show programme, Ologbondiyan said concerns raised by Umahi as it relates to the fate of the South East in the next presidential election were genuine concerns.
“Discussions have not reached that stage at all. The concerns raised by Governor Umahi as it affects the South East, the party believes are genuine concerns. And when the time comes and all the variables are considered, and all the issues are taken into consideration, the party will take its decision.
“PDP is not a party that can be stampeded. We are not a party that takes decision on the impulse of one or two individuals; we are a structured political party. We have our various organs and decisions as important as the zoning of the number one office is not a decision that can be taken at a sitting; it is a decision that must be taken round all the interests and the organs of our party. We haven’t even started the discussion, that’s the honest truth.
“But concerns are being raised and the party is also studying all the concerns. I believe all these will come into play when the party wants to make a decision but as we speak, we have not reached that level,” he said.
The PDP spokesman also noted that the party was not bothered about which part of the country the APC wants to zone the ticket for the 2023 presidential election.
He further alleged that some disgruntled APC members were working at pulling members of the PDP to form a third force in the next general elections.
“We are aware in the Peoples Democratic Party that there are those who are losing out in APC and they are contemplating a third force just as they did in 2014 and as such, they are looking at coming to the PDP and break the party by taking members of the PDP to create a new political party.
“The PDP is a holistic political party and we are not going to allow distractions. The leadership of the PDP under Prince Uche Secondus is steadying the party for the purpose for which Nigerians are aligning with us come 2023,” he stated.
Ologbondiyan also said that the National Executive Council of the party would meet on Thursday “in order to consider all issues lingering in the nation and our party.”