Prince Kassim Afegbua, an advocate of southern presidency and former Commissioner for Information, Edo state, has said that throwing the 2023 presidential position open for all members of the People’s Democratic Party, offends the party’s constitution and the democratic principles of equity and fairness.
According to him, Seven powerful members of the PDP who contributed to the ‘death’ of the PDP in 2015 with their departure because of zoning are the ones who have now returned to say that zoning is no longer important
Afegbua said this on Politics Today, a Channels Television programme, hours after it emerged that the PDP Zoning committee led by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has recommended that the Presidential ticket of the party be thrown open to all regions of the nation, contrary to calls for it to be zoned to either the north or southern region.
According to him, the PDP constitution contains clear provisions for power rotation between regions of the nation to reflect democratic principles of equity, justice, and fairness.
Afegbua’s argument is that following the eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari, a northerner, with a possible election of another northerner, will offend the spirit of equity and fairness upon which the country’s, as well as the PDP’s, power sharing arrangement is premised.
He also argued on the show that those ignoring the constitutional provision to champion the non-zoning of the ticket are not being completely honest, given that as recent as 2019, the party reserved the contest for its ticket to its northern members out of respect for the same zoning arrangement the individuals are claiming to be ignorant of.
He also highlighted the 2015 defections of the likes of Atiku Abubakar, Bukola Saraki, and Aminu Tambuwal from the PDP to the APC over dissatisfaction with the purported refusal of former President Goodluck Jonathan to honor the zoning arrangement.
Afegbua said: “If the party has now decided that it no longer wants to zone positions, then it should expunge the provision on power rotation from its constitution. This is to prevent legal complications if a dissatisfied member decides to take it to court over its failure to live up to the prescriptions of its own constitution.”
This, he said, was in spite of the emphasis of the party’s constitution on equity, fairness, and justice.
Afegbua added that the recommendation of the PDP zoning committee does not amount to a victory for any side, noting that all interested aspirants will now slug it out for the ticket at the primaries.