2023: Aspirants To Lock Horns As PDP Throws Presidential Ticket Open

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has thrown its presidential ticket for the 2023 election open, abandoning zoning, which has generated heated controversy in recent times.

Stakeholders of the party had taken different positions on zoning, with Iyioricha Ayu, National Chairman of the party, said had come to stay.

Last week, a meeting of the PDP zoning committee headed by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State ended without a definite outcome.

However, on Tuesday, the 37-member committee met for over three hours, after which they said recommendations had been sent to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party.

But sources told Daily Trust that the committee affirmed that even though zoning is part of the party’s constitution, it decided to throw open the presidential contest due to exigency of time and the fact that they are in the opposition.

The source said “Our Party was encouraged to always make the issue of zoning very clear at least six months before sales of forms. So that aspirants can know their fate.”

The committee was also said to have commended the contestants who have chosen to unite themselves and work for a consensus candidate.

Already, 13 presidential aspirants have purchased the presidential forms.

A member of the committee from the North had said more than half of the committee members have keyed into the zero zoning arrangement to enable all aspirants to participate in the primary exercise during which a presidential candidate will emerge.

“It is too late to stop aspirants from contesting and because our ultimate goal is to win, the majority of us have agreed that the race be thrown open to all. We are going for a zero-zoning arrangement.”

“The polity of today requires a national leader that is going to reinvigorate the cohesion and unity of the country. What Nigeria needs is not a zonal president, what we need is a Nigerian president. And, therefore, we are throwing it (contest) open,” he had said.

The source said Ortom apologised when his neutrality was questioned over his endorsement of the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and zoning of the presidency to the South.

“He apologised saying that he was misquoted. It was at this point that it was resolved that henceforth, members of the committee should not speak to the press,” he said.

While hosting Wike in Makurdi, Benue State capital, recently, Ortom had said “On southern presidency I stand.”

The claim of the founding member was corroborated by another member of the committee, who said the work of the committee was almost concluded.

“We have reached a resolution but we decided to make further consultations. We have reached a midcourse that all aspirants should ‘market’ themselves,” he said.

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