Chairman Board of Trustees of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senator Walid Jibrin has raised the alarm over threats to his life following his comments that the party would not zone its presidential ticket to the North come 2023.
Senator Jibrin recently stated that the party would give room for interested aspirants from all parts of the country to contest for the presidential primaries for the 2023 elections, a position he said, elicited various reactions, including threats of demonstration against him.
He said: “I have received call from some people threatening my life over my coming out not to mention that the presidency of this country be zoned to the North-east. They were saying that I am a traitor, that I should have come out to say that it is only Atiku Abubakar, and that I said that Atiku was already overthrown by the Supreme Court. They said for that, I should say Atiku is the man.
“That I won’t do because I am a leader. I have to make a lot of consultations. The National Working Committee (NWC) has to make lots of consultations; our governors have to make a lots of consultations. Then, the NEC had to take decision. And they should not forget the party has a constitution and a guideline which say that there must be primary for whoever wants to contest.
“We have not even discussed about zoning, so why are some people so concerned about the presidential ticket being zoned to a particular zone?
“About three people went to Wadata Plaza and demanded to see the chief security officer- Munir Yerima. When they were there, Yerima rang me asking where I am and I said I’m in Kaduna, then he said some people want to talk to me and I said let me talk to them on phone. He said they are intermediary between me and some party people that they said I have gone astray, and if I don’t recant, they would hold a major demonstration against me and they would arrange bandits to deal with me wherever I go.
“So I told the man to go and do whatever he wants to do, that I’m equal to the task. Then, I realised it is not only a major demonstration, but they may be planning to assassinate me.
“I have written to the DG DSS and the police IG to ensure that the matter is seriously handled as people can’t stand on their own. I’m an elder statesman in the party and in northern Nigeria. I’m a Fulani herdsman who has tried to stop the threats of militant Fulani in my local government and in my state.
“I’m a very religious person who cannot even kill a rat or an ant; yet, people are trying to harass me, to assassinate me. I want the police to give me protection and stop this harassment. They said the people are from Kano, Sokoto, Adamawa, Kaduna, Zamfara, Kebbi and Jigawa states.
“It is a gang from these northern states who are planning against me. Let’s see if the security agencies would allow this to happen. I would do all expected of me, I’m not shaken.
“Our party has not finished arrangements towards 2023; all we are doing now is reconciliation to ensure that our party are together. We have concluded arrangements to hold congresses. Soon, the NWC would convene a NEC meeting and convention to ratify the arrangements.”
He said as the PDP BoT chair, he is leader of members from every part of the country, wondering “If the Igbos ask me about the party’s choice for president in 2023, how do I explain to them? There are people agitating for the Southwest. So, we have to bring people together to agree on what people want.”
It’s an internal affair -PDP
But speaking to Blueprint on the telephone Thursday, PDP Deputy National Publicity Secretary Diran Odeyemi said the alarm raised by the BOT chair was in order, but assured that the issue would be resolved internally by the party.
He said: “There is nothing to react to. It is more or less an internal affair and we will sort it out. Honestly, it is an internal issue which we are going to resolve.”
“Also, he is the chairman of the BoT of our party and his life is under threat, if he was the one that has petitioned the police, it’s alright. If the party wants to take action, that is the action we would have taken to protect the life of our BoT chairman.
“Whoever is threatening him, he has the right to petition the police. As for zoning or no zoning, I have told you before that the party will produce the best candidate come 2023,” the party’s deputy scribe further said.