The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has thrown open its ticket for the 2023 presidential election, shunning calls for zoning.
The party also appointed former Senate President, Senator David Mark, as the Chairman of, the National Convention Organising Committee, scheduled for May 28 and May 29 to elect the party’s presidential candidate, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Debo Ologunagba, disclosed this while reading the communique issued at the end of the party’s 96th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held on Wednesday night in Abuja.
“After very extensive deliberation, NEC aligned with the recommendation of the PDP National Zoning Committee that the Presidential Election should now be thrown open.
“The Party should also work towards consensus candidate where possible,” he said.
There have been calls by some activists, civil society groups and politicians, particularly from Southern Nigeria, that the PDP and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) should zone their presidential ticket to the South, saying it is the fair thing to do.
The incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, is from Northern Nigeria and would have spent eight years in office by 2023 when his tenure would expire.
“NEC noted the recommendation of the Zoning Committee that in the interest of justice and fair play, the Party should take decision on Zoning timeously so as to prevent complications in the process.
“On the Presidential Primary and National Convention, NEC ratified that the conduct of the Presidential Primary (Special National Convention) to elect our Party’s Presidential Candidate be done on Saturday, May 28 to Sunday, May 29 in Abuja.
“NEC approved the setting up of the National Convention Organising Committee and approved the appointment of Senator David Mark as Chairman; Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as Deputy Chairman and Ibrahim Shema as Secretary.
“NEC assured of free, fair, credible and transparent processes for the emergence of our Party’s Candidates for all elective positions in the 2023 general elections.”
Ologunagba said that the NEC condemned the inability to rescue Nigerians still languishing in their abductors’ dens, including victims of the March 28 terrorism attack on the Abuja/Kaduna train.
“NEC urged the Federal Government to live up to its Constitutional duty to secure life and property and ensure an unconditional release of all the abductees.”
He added that NEC also rejected the continuing closure of public universities in Nigeria.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the National Chairman of the party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, said that with the enthusiasm spirit within the party, he believed that nothing would stop the PDP from regaining power in May 2023.
Ayu urged PDP NEC members to continue with enthusiasm to resolve differences within the party among themselves and to make sure they work hard at the grassroots level to win elections.
“I can assure you that the National Working Committee (NWC) will continue to listen to you, we will continue to make sure that we improve and work harder.
“At the end of the day, it will not be for lack of trying. I believe our effort will be good enough,” Ayu said.
Also, the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Aminu Tambuwal, pledged the commitment of the governors to successfully conduct the party convention.
“I assure you that your governors, as always, are ready to continue to give you every support that is required for our party to emerge successful in the general elections, starting with congresses at various levels.”
He added that the forum is also proud of the Ayu-led National Working Committee, especially for the transformations he is bringing to the party.
Also speaking, the minority leader in the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, speaking for the PDP National Assembly Caucus, commended the commitment of the NWC, and all the stakeholders toward the challenge ahead.
Elumelu advised the Federal Government to immediately address the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the problem in the aviation sector.
“More importantly, we call on Mr. President Muhammadu Buhari to take stronger steps to secure the release of those abducted by terrorists, including those in the Kaduna-Abuja train, especially the woman who put to bed at the den of kidnappers.
“We must not let our citizens continue to languish in captivity,” Elumelu said.
The minority leader who claimed that Nigerians are waiting for the return of PDP, urged the party’s NEC members to go into the committee meeting united.