By: Tonye Barcanista
Penultimate to the election of 2015, leaders of Peoples Democratic Party from the north led agitation for power shift to the region. The argument then was that it was immoral for President Goodluck Jonathan, as then was, to seek reelection under the platform of the party having entered a pact not to do so.
Seeing that they couldn’t stop President Jonathan from getting the nomination of the party, they activated plan B. Some of them, like Senator Bukola Saraki, Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and host of others alongside their supporters switched to the newly formed merger, All Progressive Congress, to actualise their ambition for power shift to north. Alhaji Abubakar and Governor Kwankwaso vied for the nomination of their new party but lost to General Muhammadu Buhari. Their comrades, which remained in PDP, internally worked against PDP and Jonathan.
All of these northern politicians, alongside others, fully supported the campaign of General Buhari, which culminated into his victory over President Jonathan, and thereby actualising powers shift to the north.
Rather than to support President Jonathan, who was restricted to only 4 years in office (if reelected), they miscalculated by supporting General Muhammadu Buhari who they never knew had plans to seek reelection in 2019. When they saw the handwriting on the wall that President Buhari was to seek reelection and was favored for the nomination, they returned to PDP to lay claim to the Presidential ticket of the party. The same PDP they deserted and made to lose central power in 2015.
Southern PDP Chieftains, out of their magnanimity and need for equity and fairness, wholly accepted these returnees and backed zoning of the 2019 Presidential ticket to northern part of the country in line with equity and fairness. That process threw up Alhaji Abubakar, who had left in 2014 but returned in 2018 as the candidate of the party, to challenge President Buhari of APC.
As we approach 2023, it would be unfair for the party to shortchange the south in the guise of appeasing these northern chieftains. I hold two reasons for this;
The first is that President Buhari, who these northern PDP chieftains helped bring to power, is a northerner. And it won’t be fair to the south for another northerner to seek to succeed him as after uninterrupted eight years in office in 2023. The moral thing is for the party to look towards the south instead.
Secondly, the southern PDP, and by extension southern Nigeria, were the biggest loser in the loss of PDP and Jonathan in 2015. More so, for the fact that the 2015 loss was catalysed by the actions of these northern PDP chieftains, it would be unfair and amount to double tragedy for the region to be made to give up its opportunity to appease the same people that brought about the tragedy.
Therefore, the PDP Zoning Committee under the leadership of His Excellency, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, should as a matter of patriotism, fairness and justice, do the needful by zoning the party’s National Chairmanship seat to the north and the Presidential ticket to the south.
May I also state that the south, being the stronghold of the party, is capable to galvanise support for a Presidential candidate from the south and deliver victory to the party at the polls in 2023. Furthermore, more than 55% of the northern electorates are comfortable with power shift to the south in 2023, and are looking up to PDP to make this happen
Tamunotonye Tonye Barcanista Inioribo