The Bala Mohammed-led committee on the review of the 2019 elections had recommended that the party should throw open the contest for its presidential ticket.
“We think that every Nigerian from every part of the country should be given the opportunity to choose the best candidate through a credible primary election as a way of institutionalising a merit-based leadership recruitment process for the country,” he had said.
But the committee’s recommendation had caused disagreement among some stakeholders who rejected the idea.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, apex Igbo socio-cultural, had asked for the withdrawal of the report, saying it is worrisome as the decision “will further inflame the passion of the patient but aggrieved part of the country”.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Nigerians agreed on the rotation of the presidency between the north and the south; in which case it is the turn of the south after the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari,” the group said.
“For clarity purposes, both the southwest and the south south had both taken their turns in the persons of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan respectively. It is rather very unpatriotic and a trifle on the sensibilities of the Igbo for the committee to even suggest the rotation of the presidency to the North East in the first instance and open to every part of Nigeria as a major slight.”
Reacting to concerns raised by the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP’s national publicity secretary, said the party had not taken any decision on the proposals presented by the committee.
“Due to enquiries from our members and the general public, it has become imperative to clarify that PDP is yet to adopt any of the recommendations proposed by the Bala Mohammed‘s Committee on the Review of the 2019 Elections,” Ologbondiyan said.
“As such, it will be incongruous for anyone to assert that any decision had been taken by PDP on the zoning of the presidential ticket ahead of the 2023 general elections. Members and supporters are enjoined to note that the party is yet to take any decision on the proposals presented by the committee.”
Also, Emmanuel Agbo, secretary of the panel and the deputy national secretary of the PDP, while trying to clarify the committee’s position, said the decision was based on the myriad of issues bedeviling the country.
He said the committee believes that what the country needs is a unifier who can bring Nigerians together and not a regional leader.
“Nigeria is at a brink, we are at a precipice and any other little push is going to take us into some catastrophe we do not pray for,” Agbo said.
“So in the considered view of the committee, we have a six geopolitical structure and moving back in the last 30, 40 years two of these zones came out clearly that they have not had their stint in the presidency of this country and these two zones are southeast and northeast.
“But greater consultations with stakeholders still came out with this that we are at a time, not seeking or asking for a regional leader. What Nigeria demands now is a unifier-in-chief. What the country needs now is a detribalised Nigerian, with strong character and will to unify the country and above all to build trust and confidence in one Nigeria and this called to the fact that at this point in time, the peculiar situation of our time now ranging from insecurity, deprivation of all kinds, hunger, death, and yet nothing is either been done or said.