The ceaseless defections of politicians from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, at a time when the ruling party has been widely accused of failing to live up to the legitimate expectations of Nigerians has been attributed to the insistence of some powerful forces within the PDP to present another northerner as the presidential candidate of the party’s presidential flag in 2023.
This observation was made by a former presidential spokesperson, Doyin Okupe, in an interview with journalists in Abuja on Saturday, even as he argued that the zoning arrangement in the PDP ended with the 2019 presidential election and that the move was unpopular, and will lead to a big loss to the party.
He expressed the fears that the party could collapse before 2023 if the gale of defections continues.
Okupe said, “The gale of defections in the Peoples Democratic Party has nothing to do with any form of crisis. It is just part of happenings when a general election is approaching
“Those who have defected have personal issues with party leadership, especially on the zoning arrangement.
“The issue of zoning shouldn’t be a basis for defections at this time because the committee set up to determine that will soon conclude their assignment and submit their report
“However, there is a strong indication that the party is erroneously tilting towards zoning the presidency to the North.
“Zoning is a veritable instrument that ensures equity and balancing in the nation, gives hope and confidence and support to our national unity.
“The zoning arrangement which the PDP started since 1998 was based on the assumption that the party will be in power consistently but the moment it lost power in 2015, automatically the arrangement has to be reviewed in view of the development
“When the PDP lost power, there was a southern president in power. If the party didn’t lose power and completed in 2019, zoning would kick in and power would have shifted to the North.
“However, the party that won the election presented a northern candidate who by 2023 would have ruled for eight years.
“We still carried on as if the former arrangement was still in place in 2019 and it was justifiable because within the PDP at that time for us to put forward a northern candidate.
“In 2023, with APC having ruled for eight years with a northern candidate, it will be preposterous, unjust, uncaring and blatant for the PDP to zone the presidential ticket to the north because the arrangement expired the moment our party lost power in 2019.
“There should be a reset of the zoning arrangement in 2023. It does not make sense to replace a northern government of eight years with another northern government for another eight years, it doesn’t make sense.
“That is why the PDP should zone the presidency to the South. The southern governors who are the leaders of the South had spoken, we should listen to then.
“It will be folly, reckless and insensitive for any political party to ignore the position of the southern governors
“Some people who think they control wealth are talking within the party while reasonable and strong men are keeping quiet. Some are being given money to keep quiet…Our party may lose again if we zone presidency to the North again in 2023, ” Okupe added