The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it has not abandoned zoning nor has it thrown open its presidential ticket for the 2023 election.
The position of the party was made known by the Benue State Governor and Chairman, Zoning Committee of the PDP, Samuel Ortom, who insisted that the committee was being misquoted.
It had been earlier reported that a decision reached during a meeting on Tuesday of the 37-man committee set up by the party, threw open the presidential ticket.
The committee headed by the governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, was set up on March 17 to find an amicable solution to the issue of zoning.
A Facebook post by a former Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, thanked the party leadership for electing reasoning over sentiment by taking the decision suggesting that the PDP may have finally bowed to pressure and zoned the ticket to the South.
Reacting, Ortom who spoke on Wednesday, April 6th, 2022 while appearing on the ‘Morning Show’ an AriseTV prime time programme queried why those who were not part of the meeting of the committee would want to “force words into the committee’s mouth.”
He said: “I want to clear the insinuation that the zoning committee has thrown open the presidential ticket. I did inform the media yesterday (Tuesday, April 5, 2022) that the committee has adopted a unanimous position to be presented to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party. Where did I say that the committee has thrown open the presidential ticket?
“The committee will present the report to NEC. It is NEC that has the final authority on the zoning of positions. As far as the committee was concerned, there were arguments that the presidential candidate should go to the South. While some said it should go to the Northern part of the country. There were others who were of the opinion that it should be thrown open for the best candidate who will be able to deliver good governance and make Nigerians feel like human beings again.”
He continued: “As the chairman of the committee, we did not say that. So, it is very wrong for anyone to insinuate that we have thrown the presidential ticket open. I am still repeating that, whatever we did, we have submitted our report to NEC. So, it is wrong for the media to come out with a position despite the fact that they were not members of the committee.
“I came out to brief the media. So, it is wrong completely. I did not say that. And like I said, NEC is the final authority on deciding where this position will be zoned to.”
Ortom recalled that when the party’s positions were being zoned before the national convention, “NEC directed us that in zoning these positions, go and do it rightly without minding where the president will come from yet. That when the time comes for the presidential (election), a mandate will be given to people and NEC will take a decision. That is what we have done.”
The governor then implored the media not to, “Crucify us. Don’t kill us before you get the answer because PDP has not brought up a report”, insisting, “that will be done by NEC.”
He said the party leadership was “consciously working towards ensuring that the party gets it right thing this time. I believe that at the end, the right thing will be done,” stressing however that, “Preempting the committee’s work and NEC decision is not correct.”
“I want to appeal that NEC will soon invite us to a meeting and then we can move on from there,” the governor stated.
Governor Ortom maintained that “At the end of the day, the most important thing to the PDP is what the party can do to bring the economy and security situation back to normalcy,” because “If nothing drastic is not done about the present situation in the country, a time will come when even the Presidential Villa and other government houses will be taken over by the terrorists.
“They are already closing in on us and we seem to be helpless. Everyone must team up to fight for justice, equity and fairness,” he stated.