Woman aspirant cautions against zoning
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Former acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and an aspirant for the national chairmanship position, Prince Uche Secondus, has stated that at no time did former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, endorse the micro zoning of national chairmanship seat.
Secondusâ€™s position came just as a woman aspirant for the post of the PDP National Women Leader, Baraka Umar, cautioned the party against over-playing the zoning card to the detriment of its electoral interest.
President Jonathan was reported to have asked chairmanship aspirants to respect agreement on micro zoning so as to avert crisis in the party.
However, Secondus said the former president as a loyal and dedicated leader of the party couldnâ€™t have said that since he is fully aware that it is the decision of the party convention to zone the chairmanship position to the three zones in the South.
In a statement by the Director, Media and Publicity, Secondus For Chairman Campaign Organisation, Ike Abonyi, the aspirant urged his colleagues to respect leaders of the party especially former president and heads of state, and stop dragging them into taking partisan roles.
The statement said the report in one of the national dailies claiming that President Jonathan wants the national chairman to come from a particular zone is not only a fabrication from the reporter but deliberately intended to mislead.
â€œPresident Jonathan, being a loyal and dedicated leader of the party, couldnâ€™t have said that since he is fully aware that it is the decision of the party convention to zone the chairmanship position to the three zones in the South.
According to the statement, â€œJonathan knows as a fact that our constitution states clearly that nobody or group or any organ of the party can change convention decision except a convention, and he couldnâ€™t have said what is attributed to him.
â€œItâ€™s disrespectful for anybody to have dragged the name of the former president to the media, by trying to say what he did not say.â€
Secondus then advised members of the party particularly the delegates to the December 9 convention to disregard the concocted story.
He alleged that there are plans by some aspirants to discredit the national convention and weaken the PDP before the 2019 general elections.
The media office said it gathered from intelligence that some national chairmanship aspirants have mapped out strategies aimed at furnishing media houses with stories claiming that they have been endorsed by these elders.
It said that such mischief has far reaching implications for the desired harmony and peace in the party since the elders are our fall backs for unbiased roles.
â€œThe motive of those supplying media houses with fake stories is clear, which is to discredit the convention and weaken the party ahead of the general election, but they would not succeed because our delegates will not be swayed by that.
â€œBad enough that some aspirants in their desperation to lead the party at all cost have dragged some of our revered members of the Board of Trust (BOT) into playing clear bias roles and now want to drag former president in.
â€œSeverally, our leaders have been boxed into a corner by aspirants who put words into their mouth knowing that they would not want to come public to deny or concur.â€
While speaking shortly after submitting her nomination form, Umar said: â€œI donâ€™t believe in micro zoning. Equity is not the same thing as fairness. When you want to be equal you might not be fair.
â€œI am not a proponent of micro zoning but it is a good way of giving sense of belonging.â€
Similarly, another PDP chairmanship aspirant, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, has expressed concern over resort to abuse and denigration of opponents on the pages of newspapers and social media by aspirants and their supporters.
Dokpesi in a statement signed by the Director General of his campaign organisation, Mohammed Baba Kachalla, said campaign of calumny undermines the competitiveness of the process and weaken the entire national convention process.
â€œThe national convention on December 9 to10 is an internal political contest to elect officers of the party that will run the day-to-day affairs of the PDP at the national level.
â€œThe resort to name calling, blackmail and antagonism is an ill wind that does no one any good, rather it destroys the internal cohesion of the party and potentially sets aside the cordial spirit needed to carry out the task of propagating the ideals of the PDP towards winning the hearts of Nigerians.â€