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Let’s focus on getting power, says Tambuwal •Party’s Southwest leaders insist on power shift

The North-South divide in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over zoning of the 2023 Presidential ticket is widening.

Presidential aspirant Aminu Tambuwal, Sokoto State governor, said yesterday that instead of talking about zoning, the party should give the ticket to the candidate that can win the election.

But Southwest leaders of the main opposition at a meeting hosted in Ibadan by Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde insisted that the South should produce the presidential ticket.

Leading lights of the PDP in the zone attended the meeting.

Their position is in sync with that of Southsouth governors and leaders expressed on Monday at their meeting in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.


“The PDP should give the ticket to the Southsouth zone which is its stronghold,” Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, told the meeting.

Thirteen PDP governors were meeting last night in Umuahia, the Abia State, with the issue of zoning likely on the agenda.


The PDP’s main decision-making organs – the National Caucus, the Board of Trustee (BoT), and the National Executive Committee (NEC) – met in Abuja but failed to agree on which zone should produce its standard-bearer.

It raised a 37-member body to give a report within two weeks on the vexed zoning issue.


Tambuwal, speaking at a meeting with former principal officers of the national and state assemblies, as part of his consultation, said the party leadership and stakeholders would have to choose between zoning of its presidential ticket and winning the election.

Calling for unity of purpose, he said no single zone can win the presidential election all alone.

He urged those clamouring for zoning to consider the demographic composition of the country and the trend in past election results.

But, one of PDP’s founding fathers, Chief Olabode George described Tambuwal’s proposal as “illogical”, adding that “it puts the cart before the horse” with the argument that the party should win the election before talking about sharing of offices.


Tambuwal explained further that what should be paramount to the PDP was the need to adopt the best strategy to dislodge the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2023 and resolve the issue of power-sharing afterwards.

Tambuwal recalled that it was such strategic planning that enabled the APC to win the presidential election in 2015.


The governor observed that part of the APC strategy at the time was to give its presidential ticket to Gen. Muhammadu Buhari from Katsina State.

He said the APC would have lost the 2015 presidential election if it had given the ticket to someone from the South, particularly the Southsouth zone.

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Tambuwal said: “APC took their ticket to Katsina in 2015 where the last President of PDP, Umaru Yar’ Adua, died in office in 2010.

“That was five years later, out of strategic thinking, with Bola Tinubu and the rest of them; I was part of it. We said we were looking for how to move. We must get power before we share it.


“I deliberately took APC ticket to Katsina to give President Muhammadu Buhari. Yes. Atiku contested, Rabiu Kwankwaso contested. Sam Nda Isaiah and Rochas Okorocha, contested.

“But we knew where we were going. Because we were determined to win. Let me tell you, had the APC given that ticket to someone from the south, in particular the Southsouth, we couldn’t have won.


“Go and check the election results of 2007. Buhari had 11 million votes in 2003. But in 2007, he got seven million votes against Yar’Adua because they are from the same Katsina.

“I am giving you this analysis so that together, as leaders of our party, PDP, who are working towards winning an election, not zoning, not winning tickets.

“Yes, we can share tickets and everybody can take his piece and go to his zone. But you must plan to win the election. That’s the reality of it. It’s not anybody’s making where we come from.

“I didn’t make myself to come from Sokoto, a Fulani man. No, it’s God.


“God could have decided for me to be born somewhere else not in Nigeria. So we must accept these realities as a party and work with these realities to win the election.

“After that, we come down and say okay, let’s share power. Win election first. Don’t win zoning o! Win the election and they will come and share power.”

Speaking on television, George said: “Listening to governor Tambuwal on zoning, I think in a nutshell, he has put the cart before the horse. How do you win an election first, when you come back to zoning? That sounds illogical.

“The founding fathers of this party sat back in 1998, looked back from the First Republic on the real mitigating factors for this unnecessary friction in this country. They then decided to divide Nigeria into six geopolitical zones and shared the six top positions – the president,  the vice president, the senate president, the speaker, Secretary to the government and the chairman of the political party in the land across the zones.

“This was so because in the first republic the majority had their ways while the minorities were the onlookers. And that created so much tension and friction that led us to the first coup, the civil war, led us to all kinds of instability in the system. Our founding fathers having experienced all that, they then gave us a model. That was a special gift to the future generation.

“This sharing formula was meant to instill connection within the system, which is necessary for any political system. On that basis, no zone was left put and that guaranteed the oneness, the unity and involvement of every part of Nigeria.

“If you now say let us go for the election and let the best man emerges and thereafter we share based on zoning. That sounds illogical.

“What we are saying now is that we should adhere to the constitution of our party clearly stated that Zoning and rotation must be the kernel of our party. And if the spinal cord in the human body is cut, you are either paralyse or dead.”

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