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 country, contrary to calls for it to be zoned to either the north or southern region, Prince Kassim Afegbua, a prominent member of the party who favours zoning to the south, has contended that the free-for-all approach is inconsistent with the dictates of the party’s constitution on the matter.
Speaking on a popular political television show, Kassim Afegbua argued that the PDP constitution contained clear provisions for power rotations between regions of the country in satisfaction of equity, justice, and fairness.
His argument has gotten support from present and past leaders of the party, including a former national chairman of the PDP, Abubakar Kawu Baraje, who faulted the claims of former Vice President Atiku that the PDP’s constitution did not provide for the zoning of political offices.
According to Baraje, “stated in the PDP constitution is a clear edict that zoning should be respected for the purpose of giving a sense of belonging to all members of the party and for all-inclusiveness.”
The rational of many, including Prince Kassim Afegbua, is that following the eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari, a northerner, with the election of another northerner offends the spirit of equity and fairness upon which the country’s, as well as the PDP’s, power sharing arrangement is premised.
Afegbua 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.”
“Seven powerful members 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. This is despite the emphasis of the party constitution on equity, fairness, and justice,” he was quoted to have said in a report by Newsdiary.
Afegbua added that the recommendation of the PDP zoning committee did not amount to a victory for any side, noting that all interested aspirants would now slug it out for the ticket at the primaries.