The Peoples Democratic Party in Abuja on Friday inaugurated an 88-member zoning committee with a mandate to open the democratic space at its forthcoming national convention.
The Chairman of the Caretaker Committee, Malam Ahmed Makarfi, who inaugurated the committee, said the team had a week to conclude its assignment.
According to him, there is no anointed candidate for any position and the short term will enable aspirants to know what positions have been zoned to each zone.
Makarfi told the committee, headed by the Ebonyi Governor, Mr David Umahi, that ”it is senseless for the party to zone both the presidency and chairmanship to the same region.’’
He said the caretaker committee would not print one form for any specific office as was done in the past but that forms would be printed for offices as there were aspirants.
“It doesn’t make sense at all for the chairmanship of the party and the presidency is zoned to the north.
”In party politics all sections should have a fair representation; that was why the entire zoning arrangement was jettisoned.
“Open the political landscape so that all the materials that we have from the south will come out so that we get the best from the pack.
“I assure you we are not going to print a single form for any position. We will print forms for all aspirants for any office. It is not an anointment but an election,” he said.
The governor, represented by his deputy, Mr Kelechi Igwe, congratulated all the members on the special assignment and the caretaker committee for being able to steer the committee.
He said “the mistake and missteps of those who have found their place in other political platforms made the PDP wobble to failure in 2015 elections.’’
Also, the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Rep. Leo Ogor, assured the committee of the legislators’ support, saying ”this marks the beginning of return of the PDP to Aso Villa.”
In his goodwill message, the Chairman of PDP Board of Trustees (BOT), Malam Jibril Walid, said ”the composition of the committee represented a democratic process.
”It has the job made easier for them by the zoning of two important offices: the presidency to the north and the chairmanship of the party to the south.”
At a news briefing after the event, the National Caretaker Committee member in-charge of publicity, Hon. Dayo Adeyeye, said the committee had been under pressure to wield the big stick on erring party members by Ali Modu Sheriff.
He, however, said, “We will continue to extend the olive branch after all it is yielding result.
”PDP remains the biggest party, not only in Nigeria but in Africa. We had 16 years of plenty and one year of lack so Nigerians are yearning for us to come back to power.
”The PDP has no faction. We are together. Our programmes are ongoing and there is no threat whatsoever for the caretaker committee to move the secretariat.
”Yes, there are few people complaining here and there but there is no faction.
Ali Modu Sheriff’s conditions are easy to meet. If he brings a list we will take from it.
”He’s a stakeholder so we will honour him. The convention committee authority is final, we will hold the convention in Port Harcourt.
”If he had come to the caucus committee like Sen. Buruji Kashamu, did he would have seen reasons for us to move to Port Harcourt, that’s why we are appealing to him to come back.