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North begins search for presidential candidate, dismisses Fayose’s bid

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Northern Leaders and Elders Forum has dismissed the declaration by Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state to contest the presidential ticket, reaffirming that the zoning formula which has ceded the party’s  ticket to the north remains intact.

Former Minister of Information and convener of the Forum, Prof Jerry Gana who made this remark yesterday in Abuja while welcoming the Forum charged the zone to put away personal interests so that the best candidate would emerge through proper consultation and consensus.

Prof Gana urged the northern leaders to embark on wide consultation of the zone to ensure that only the best who the people can trust among the north emerges to vie for the position.

“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,” said Gana in his opening remarks.

Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi stated that the zoning of offices is clear and devoid of confusion adding however, that micro-zoning is 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 bared from doing so provided that the zoning formula is respected.

“The Port Harcourt convention remain valid and one of the decisions taken at that convention was zoning. Micro zoning 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,” he said even as he reminded party members not to forget that “People will not get tired of taking the PDP to court.”

The 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 efforts 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.

The Board of Trustees Chairman of the party, 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.

He stated that the north is blessed with many of such talented leaders warning that the zone must do away with spoilers and accommodate all in reaching decisions.

For Dr. Ahmadu Ali, ex-national chairman of the PDP, the way forward for the party is a united front where “mini meetings” if they should hold “must get the approval of the national chairman.”

Apparently worried by the show of interest in the national chairmanship, Dr. Ali called on the north to support the South-West’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.”

Taking a sightly different position on Fayose’s Presidential declaration, former Acting National Chairman of the party, Dr. Bello Haliru called for sanctions against those who contravenes the party’s zoning formula, noting that zoning and rotation of offices have always been given a pride of place in the party’s affairs.

“Zoning and rotation are part of the PDP Constitution. We must adhere to them if we are to keep this party alive.

“There 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,” he said.

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.

“The PDP is a party that was formed to fight 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 Hero (Kaduna), Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano), Ibrahim Schema( Katsina), and erstwhile Ministers, Abba Moro( Internal Affairs), Abubakar Olarenwaju Sulaiman (National Planning) Adamu Maina Waziri (Police Affairs), Kabiru Turaki (Special Duties) and Zainab Maina (Women Affairs).

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

About Emeka Nze, Abuja