Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has said the issue of where the country’s president comes from has never been the problem of Nigeria nor would it be the solution.
He stated this at the 94th meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, in Abuja.
The NEC meeting was called to enable the opposition party take a decision on the zoning of offices ahead of its October 30 national convention.
Tension has been mounting in the PDP since its zoning committee proposed that its next national chairman should come from the North, which was interpreted to mean the party’s 2023 presidential candidate would come from the South.
However, Atiku, who is touted to be interested in vying for the PDP 2023 presidential ticket, warned that while the party has the right to set its ground rules, whatever the NEC resolved, in respect to zoning, would either make or mar the party.
“The Peoples Democratic Party has the right to determine its rules on how the party should be governed. The people of Nigeria also have the right to determine who governs them. Where the president comes from, has never been the problem of Nigeria, neither, will it be the solution. There is no such thing as a president of southern Nigeria, or a president of northern Nigeria. There is only one president of Nigeria, for Nigeria, by Nigerians.
“Talking about inclusions, I would like to see a new National Working Committee of our great party that has sizeable numbers of our youths and woman. The decision of NEC today will either see PDP into the Villa in 2023 or not.”
Atiku, who said he was committed to the resolutions of the party NEC called for fairness and justice to all sections of the country.
“In 2003, all the PDP governors met at the Villa and said they were not going to support President Obasanjo for a second term, that I should run. I now referred them to the resolution of NEC, where NEC decided that power should remain in the South West for eight years. How do you now want me to go against the resolution of NEC. And I turned it down. And we moved on. So, this country has a sense of fairness. This country has a sense of justice. Therefore, this thing that is inbuilt in our party, we should use it, imbibe it to make sure today’s deliberations are in the best interest of our party, and best interest of Nigeria, which will ultimately give us the victory to go back to the Villa.”
He also spoke on how politicians across the divide agreed to cede power to the South West in 1999 to compensate for the injustice done to MKO Abiola in 1993.
“Now let me come to historical events, which I said I was going to cite. Those of us who served in the constitutional conference, which drafted the current constitution of Nigeria should remember that after we finished drafting the constitution, we all met as members of the constitutional conference and resolved to correct the injustice that was done to a particular part of this country.
“And we said, in whichever party you found yourself, your presidential candidate must come from the South West, because a Abiola had won election, it was annulled, not only was it annulled, he was killed. So we all agreed as members, and we went out of the constitutional conference and we formed our parties. At the end of the day, two parties emerged. PDP picked General Obasanjo and AD picked Olu Falae. All of these show you that Nigerians have a sense of fairness.”