•Ignore him, he doesn’t speak for us –Party
Prominent Peoples Democratic Party leaders in the South-West have faulted claims by ex-Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, that the party had zoned the 2023 presidential ticket to the North.
The former governor said on Friday when members of the Atiku Support Organisation visited him in Minna that the party had zoned its presidential ticket to the North.
But a former National Secretary of the PDP, Prof. Wale Oladipo, who spoke with our correspondent on Saturday, faulted Aliyu’s claim.
Oladipo said, “He (Aliyu) should be asked at what meeting the decision was made? To the best of my knowledge, the National Executive Committee meeting and the expanded caucus meeting decided that we were going to zone only party offices and that we would reconvene later to discuss the issue of the presidential candidate, whether we would zone it or not.
“We also set up a committee and the committee has submitted its report where it was clearly stated that the presidential ticket be thrown open to all Nigerians who are members of the PDP. That was the last discussion we had about our presidential ticket. No meeting has been convened after that to either zone the ticket to the North or to the South.
“If he is supporting a particular aspirant, he is free to do that just like some of us will also take decisions to support whoever we like later.
Speaking in the same vein, a former National Vice Chairman of the PDP in South-West, Chief Bode George, while responding to inquiry by our correspondent on the issue, said he had no idea that the party had zoned the ticket to any region.
George said, “I have no idea that the position has been zoned to the North. The party did not meet to take that decision. When we zoned the national offices, it was agreed that the presidential ticket be left open to the entire country. The former governor is a member of the BoT and I am sure he is an honourable man.
“But I am also sure that the party has not met to take any decision on that, unless he has any information not known to us or he is privileged to information that we do not know. I also know that the party at the national level would not play with the southern caucus. This is because, when we sneeze, the entire nation catches a cold.”
Also, a member of the PDP BoT, Dr Saka Balogun, said what the ex-governor said was new to him.
He said, “There is an organ for processing that kind of statement and to the best of my knowledge, that organ, that is the National Working Committee of the party has not met and if the NWC has met, they have not given us such information.
“Even when they meet, they don’t decide in isolation, there are other organs which have to be taken into account, I am a member of the party’s BoT and we have not been informed of anything like that.
“There is also the PDP Caucus in the National Assembly and to the best of my knowledge, such a decision has not been conveyed to that organ. I think that is his own personal opinion and to say PDP has settled for a presidential candidate is an overstatement.”