2023 Presidency: No decision yet on zoning –APC caretaker chairman

His Excellency the Executive Governor of Yobe State and Chairman APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Hon. Mai Mala Buni, has disclaimed the recent information being circulated in the social media with purported zoning of offices allegedly announced by him.

His Excellency has in clear and unambiguous terms denied the said list, saying, it is false, baseless, unfounded, misleading and has nothing to do with him.

The Chairman of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Committee, said the party has not taken any decision at any fora on anything relating to zoning of offices.

The publication is just a figment of the author’s imagination that has nothing to do with the Chairman and the party.

The public is hereby urged to disregard the purported list as it is misleading and completely false.

Governor Buni urged the press to resist unverified stories and rumours, and to always verify all issues related to the party assuring that the doors of the party are always open.

However, as Nigerians eagerly await where the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, will be zoned to ahead of the 2023 general election, the Justice and Equity Group, JEG, has made case for the zoning of the ticket to the North in the interest of fairness and justice.

The JEG, which is a group within the PDP, maintained that the presidency of the nation, under the administration of the party, had remained in the South for a total of 14 years, when former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr Goodluck Jonathan were in saddle, while the North, under late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua only remained in power for two years.

The group said this in a statement yesterday by its Chairman and former Deputy Majority Whip of the House of Representatives, Hon (Engr) Ahmed Muktar in Abuja.

The JEG of the PDP reasoned also that it will be in the party’s greater interest to abide by the earlier decision of its National Executive Committee, NEC, that threw open the presidential ticket of PDP to all zones.

The Justice and Equity group argued, strongly that the best candidate who can win the presidential election for the PDP and “change the terrible mess which the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has turned Nigeria into”, should be allowed to emerge from any zone in the country.

The group’s statement was in response to a recent press release by Prince Kassim Afegbua, an erstwhile Commissioner in Edo State and

one of the former spokespersons of Atiku Abubakar presidential campaign during the 2019 presidential election.

Afegbua, had adviced Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to quit his quest for presidency and to support a southern Nigerian candidate in the spirit of fairness, equity and justice so as to assuage the feelings of stakeholders from the South.

However, the Justice and Equity Group insists that it is undemocratic to ask a qualified Nigerian not to contest for Presidency.

According to group’s statement, “We think that in the greater interest of the PDP, we should abide by the earlier PDP National Executive Committee decision that threw open the presidential ticket of PDP to all zones.

“Let the best candidate that can win the election for the PDP and change the terrible mess APC has turned Nigeria into, to emerge.

“While it is undemocratic to ask a qualified Nigerian not to contest for Presidency, we agree substantially that Atiku Abubakar has had his time and opportunities.

“He (Atiku) was presented in 2018/2019 as the only one with the capacity, the financial muscle, the experience to beat President Buhari. He fluffed the chance given to him by PDP. Age is also not on his side on 2023.

“Nigerians have become weary of his perenial and perpetual candidature. It may be time for him to give a younger person a chance.

“A blanket ban on any region from contesting for presidency under PDP is manifestly and patently unreasonable, unjust, unfair and contrary to natural justice. It is wrong and will not fly in a democracy.”

In another development the Former Governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha, on Wednesday declared his intention to succeed Muhammadu Buhari as President of Nigeria.

Okorocha formally notified his fellow colleagues that he would run for the presidency in 2023 on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He made his intention known in a letter to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan which was read at plenary on Wednesday.

He said he would address a world press conference on Monday, January 31, 2022 to officially declare his ambition to contest the presidency.

It would be recalled that Okorocha had stated in 2018, when he was still the governor of Imo State that he would seek the APC’s ticket to succeed President Buhari in 2023.

He dropped the hintt when he hosted some political stakeholders at the state government house in Owerri.

He declared: “Buhari’s declaration for a second term was a good development, Buhari would win again and again and after Buhari, the turn will come to South East and it will be the turn of Okorocha”.

Some of those who have declared their interest so far include Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello; a National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi and Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu.

Though President Yemi Osinbajo is yet to formally indicate interest, there are strong interest groups urging him to make his ambition public.

Also, former President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has declared his intention to run for president in 2023.

Saraki, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, made this known via his official Facebook page,

He wrote, “Earlier today, I replied to a follower of mine on Twitter who, like thousands of you, has been clamouring for a united front to #RescueNigeria.

“As we prepare for the journey ahead, I hope we can all join hands to get the ticket of our great party, PDP, and build a nation that works for all of us.

“Join me to make our communities safer and provide real opportunities for you and your families. I have a strong record of delivering and experience in making tough decisions.

“Let’s build a new Nigeria that works for EVERYONE! #GrowNigeria”

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