BY QUADRI SALIU
Chief Olabode George, the former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has picked holes in the zoning formula adopted by the party, saying the decision to “hang the Presidency” in the air is dangerous.
He said there should no ambiguity about the fact that the Presidency should go to the South with the zoning of the chairmanship position to the North.
In a statement titled, “Zoning is about equity and fairness,” the PDP leader urged all stakeholders in the party to do the right thing for the party to return to power in 2023.
Bode George said: “There is an old, enlightening principle laid down by the founding fathers of our party since 1999 that six key positions must always be zoned to the six geo-political constituents of our nation to ensure equity and orderly balance of power.
“The six key positions are the President, Vice President, National Chairman, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
“Naturally, this means that if the Presidency goes to the North, the Chairman of the party goes to the South and vice versa. All these positions are zoned because of the necessity of national belonging and accommodation. Every section of this nation must have a sense of equitable participation in our national life.
“This has been the enduring pivot of our democratic experience since 1999. There is now a threat to this unwritten doctrine. The zoning arrangement which gave the north the Chairmanship of our party and leaves the Presidency open is incongruous, unwholesome and a recipe for disaster.
“Once the Chairmanship is now in the north, the presidency must come to the south. There must not be any ambiguity at all. This should be crystal clear. Hanging the presidency in the air like a hovering craft without a landing zone is dangerous, unfair and wrong.
“In a nation reeling with divisive politics, marred with discord and ethnic distrust, it is rather inexplicable that the stakeholders in our party cannot be firm and decisive about an issue that will inevitably affect the future
of our party and the nation itself.
“This is not the time for uncertainties and half measures. Our vision must be clear. Our goal must be certain. Our resolve must be sincere. We can only reclaim the centre in 2023 only if every section of this great nation is treated as co-equal and a significant partner in the national voyage.
“There is no other way. Zoning of all the six key offices will continue to ensure a strong and healthy democratic nation anchored on the fairness doctrine. I am using this opportunity to call on all stakeholders to come together and reaffirm this great vision of our founding fathers.”
George’s position is opposed to that of Chief Raymond Dokpesi, also a PDP chieftain, who said no Southern candidate can win the presidency in 2023.