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2019: PDP begins search for northern presidential candidate

By Emeka Nze Abuja–

Th e Peoples Democratic Party Northern Leaders and Elders Forum, has dismissed the declaration by Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state to seek the party’s presidential ticket for 2019, reaffi rming that the zoning formula which ceded the party’s ticket to the North remains intact.

Former Minister of Information and convener of the Forum, Professor.

Jerry Gana, who made this remark yesterday in Abuja, charged the zone to put away personal interests so that the best candidate would emerge through proper consultation and consensus.

Likely contestants Among those top PDP members that will come under the party’s searchlight in the zone are former Jigawa state Governor, Sule Lamido, former Minister of Special Duties, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki and an All Progressives Congress chieftain and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who is may dump his party as being speculated.

While Lamido had publicly indicated his intention to take a shot at the plum seat, Turaki is yet to respond to promptings from party supporters, while the former VP has not offi cially made a declaration to that eff ect, even though it is clear he has his eyes on the presidency.

Consultation starts But to Professor Gana, leader of the forum, northern leaders will embark on wide consultation within the zone to ensure that only the best that the people can trust within the region emerges to vie for the nation’s presidency come 2019.

“I want to appeal to you to give to the party the very best in the positions that have been zoned to us.

Let us therefore give to the party, men and women of impeccable integrity.

“Whatever the Fayoses of this world may be doing, the party has resolved that the Presidential candidate will come from one of the three zones in the North,” Gana said in his opening remarks.

Micro zoning not binding – Maikarfi Receiving the team, Chairman, PDP National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi , stated that the zoning of offices was clear and devoid of confusion, adding, however, that micro zoning was not binding.

He noted that for offices zoned to a particular region, the party would sell forms to aspirants only from the zone irrespective of their micro-zoning.

While affirming that the presidency has been zoned to the North, Makarfi reiterated the commitment of the party to honour the agreement, stressing that those bent on indicating interest in elective positions should not be barred from doing so provided that the zoning formula is respected.

“The Port Harcourt convention remains valid and one of the decisions taken at that convention was zoning.

Microzoning does not have binding effect.

“If a position is zoned to the North and you are from the North and you come to buy form, we will sell for you,” the chairman assured, even as he reminded party members not to forget that “people will not get tired of taking the PDP to court.

” Th e chairman further called for unity without which, the party will find it difficult to stage a comeback to power in 2019.

On the progress made so far in the reconciliation eff orts by the party, Makarfi said the entire machinery of Labour Party in Osun state has resolved to join the PDP in a matter of days.

Also speaking, Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees, Senator Walid Jibrin called on the party to shun all ethnic and religious sentiments to come up with a suitable presidential candidate from the north.

‘Vote S/west as chair or forget party’ For Dr. Ahmadu Ali, exnational chairman of the PDP, the way forward for the party is a united front where “minimeetings” if they should hold, “must get the approval of the national chairman.

” Apparently worried by the show of interest in the national chairmanship, Ali called on the north to support the Southwest’s aspiration.

He said: “Let us stop these mini-meetings.

Any of such meetings must get the approval of the national chairman.

“We must be ready to ensure that at the convention, the main issue, which is the national chairmanship of the party, is well handled.

If we don’t vote the South-west, we can as well forget the PDP.

” Sanction for Fayose, others Taking a slightly diff erent position on Fayose’s Presidential declaration, former Acting National Chairman of the party, Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed called for sanctions against those who contravene the party’s zoning formula, noting that zoning and rotation of offi ces have always been given a pride of place in the party’s aff airs.

“Zoning and rotation are part of the PDP constitution.

We must adhere to them if we are to keep this party alive.

“Th ere are people who are bent on contesting whether the office is zoned to their place or not.

We must discuss with the South, so that anybody who goes against zoning can be punished.

We cannot afford to have people come to the convention and make a fool of themselves and ridicule the party.

” To one of the former Senate Presidents, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, PDP must put an end to impunity and impositions as preparations for the convention intensify, even as he urged the party to leverage on its presence at the grassroots to return to power.

“Th e PDP is a party that was formed to fi ght dictatorship; it’s an anti-dictatorship party.

Let’s stop imposing candidates and allow them to emerge through electoral democracy or through consensus.

“We have representation in all the 774 local government s in the country.

If we mobilise them, we will return to power,” Ayu said.

Present at the meeting were former Governors Ibrahim Idris, Idris Wada (Kogi), Ramalan Yero (Kaduna), Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano), Ibrahim Shema( Katsina), and erstwhile Ministers, Abba Moro( Internal Aff airs), Abubakar Olarenwaju Sulaiman (National Planning), Adamu Maina Waziri (Police Aff airs), Kabiru Turaki (Special Duties) and Zainab Maina (Women Aff airs), among others.

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Others included former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, former National Woman Leader, Ina Ciroma, amongst others

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