Despite clamour for zoning, PDP says Atiku, Saraki have right to contest for president

The PDP spokesperson says party chieftains seeking to fly the flag of the party have not broken any rule.

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Bukola Saraki (Punch)

Despite the demand by southern governors that Nigeria’s next president must be a southerner, the Peoples Democratic Party has maintained that northerners seeking to become president have the right to do so.

Former Presidential candidate of the party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and former President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki are frontline northern presidential aspirants in the PDP.

While political stakeholders in the south are asking the opposition party to zone its 2023 presidential ticket to the region, the party believes there is nothing wrong with northern aspirants contesting for president on its platform.

In an interview with TheNation, PDP spokesman, Debo Ologunagba said party chieftains seeking to fly the flag of the party have not broken any rule.

He said, “They did not jump the gun as you inferred. The constitution of the PDP, and indeed the Nigerian constitution, did not empower the party leadership to abridge the rights of any party member or any Nigerian for that matter.

“Let me make it clear that Atiku, Saraki, or any other aspirant collecting the nomination form at this point, cannot stop the 37-man committee from doing its job.

“To make it clearer; even if the committee eventually zones the presidential ticket to a particular part of the country, it does not take away the right of other qualified and interested individuals to contest.

“The PDP is a party of laws and regulations. We do things in accordance with our laws and procedures, and in line with the constitution of Nigeria.

Meanwhile, South-South Governors and lawmakers elected on the platform of the PDP have demanded that the 2023 presidential ticket of the party be zoned to the south.

The governors argued that “in the spirit of fairness, equity, and justice,” their region deserves to produce the next president.

The governors made the demand at a summit in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, on Monday, March 21, 2022.

The South-south political leaders maintained that the PDP might lose the opportunity to retake power if it failed to zone its presidential ticket to the south.

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