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2023: Do Not Jettison Zoning – Edwin Clark, Adebanjo, Others Warn PDP, APC

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The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) has cautioned the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) against throwing its presidential ticket open.

The group described the conclusion of the Governor Samuel Ortom-led Zoning Committee, where the Committee reportedly threw the PDP ticket open to all regions, as disgusting, unfair and unacceptable.

Naija News reports that the warning was given in a communiqué titled ‘Do not jettison zoning, SMBLF cautions PDP’.

The communique was jointly signed by the leader of the forum, Chief Edwin Clark; the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Prof George Obiozor; President of the Middle Belt Forum, Dr Pogu Bitrus; and the National Leader of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo.

The group warned that the country will go back to what it used to be before its amalgamation in 1914 if the principle of zoning and rotation of power between North and South was scrapped by the parties.

They stated that any attempt to perpetuate a northern presidency through unnecessary intrigues and conspiracies after President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure because of a hypothetical majority, would no doubt heighten the dissension in the country.

The communiqué read, “The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum is dismayed by the purported recommendation of the 37-member PDP Zoning Committee to throw the party’s 2023 presidential ticket open to all parts of the country and the justifications afterwards.

“The said conclusion of the Governor (Samuel) Ortom-led Zoning Committee is disgusting, unfair and unacceptable.

“Still, it is also a purveyor of discord. Accordingly, SMBLF urges the National Executive Committee of the PDP to reject outright the recommendation.

“SMBLF cautions the PDP not to violate its principle of zoning and rotation of power between the North and the South, noting that the founding fathers of the party and the framers of its constitution, in cognisance of the nation’s diversity, and in line with the federal character principle, rightly provided under Section 7, Sub-section 3C, that there should be a rotation of party offices and elective offices, not only to promote equity, fairness and justice but equally to avoid the preponderance of persons from any particular section or ethnic group of the country in the running of the affairs of the party and the government of Nigeria as we have today, in the one-sided government of Muhammadu Buhari”