Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders hoping for the zoning of 2023 Presidential ticket to South may be disappointed.
This is because should the party accept the report of its Review Committee, the 2023 ticket will be thrown open to all.
The committee, led by Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed, said the ticket should be given based on merit rather than zonal consideration.
The Governor Mohammed-led committee was set up to study the circumstances that led to the party’s loss of the 2019 election and proffer solution for a future victory. It submitted the report yesterday.
Other members of the committee are Senator Eyinaya Abaribe; Ex-Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu, Senator Stella Omu and Emmanuel Agbo (Secretary).
National Chairman Uche Secondus, who received the report said: “The PDP is leaving no stone unturned to ensure it regains federal power and this report is going to be the takeoff point and keystone to our subsequent actions ahead of 2023.”
He urged the Muhammadu Buhari administration to embark on immediate electoral reform that would ensure free, fair, and transparent elections in the country.
Secondus said: “Having failed roundly in the delivery of any dividend to Nigerian people, and having brought the country to a status of a failed nation with an unprecedented collapse of all structures, the APC (All Progressives Congress) knows as a fact that Nigerians would not want to do anything with them again.
“As a result, they (APC) are putting all studs on the way to conducting credible elections. But we need to warn that the only thing keeping this country alive today is the fact that the APC will be history by 2023.
“They are aware of this reality and they are trying to use their usual propaganda to create a different image of themselves, but Nigerians know better and cannot be fooled again.
“Relying on the recommendations of this report, the NWC will work with think tanks, consultants and all critical stakeholders of our great party to enhance the new PDP narratives that will help address the yawning absence of leadership in the country.
The report reads in part: “In line with certain unwritten conventions of the nation’s history, many people think that, for fairness and equity, the Northeast and Southeast geo-political zones that have had the shortest stints at the Presidency, should be given special consideration, in choosing the presidential flag bearer of the party for the 2023 elections.
“While we admit that this is a strong argument, we should not lose sight of the fact that Nigeria is endowed with many capable and very experienced leaders in every part of the country.
“Moreover, the exigencies of the moment demand that nothing should be compromised in choosing the leader, with the attributes to disentangle the country from its present quagmire.
“Therefore, we think that every Nigerian, from every part of the country, should be given the opportunity to choose the best candidate, through a credible primary election; as a way of institutionalising a merit-based leadership recruitment process for the country.
“The summary of our report is that the party must promote practices that will deepen democracy, promote national unity and inspire greater faith in our country, especially, among the youth and the several stakeholder groups yearning for inclusion”.
The committee urged the PDP to key into generational and gender shifts sweeping across the globe and the emergence of a new generation of Nigerians who are not held down by religion, ethnicity or such other primordial considerations but who are determined to mainstream the country into global best practices.
It said: “The #EndSARS movement, a few months back, was the testimony we needed, that a new generation of young, bold, ambitious and detribalised Nigerians have taken the centre-stage and that their legitimate clamour for inclusion and good governance can only be ignored to the peril of the party and indeed Nigeria.
“In line with the above, the party must strongly resolve to promote internal democracy, discourage ‘godfatherism and ensure that the will of the people prevail, in the choice of candidates to run for electoral positions. That, in our view, is the pedestal upon which electoral success can be seamlessly sustained.”
The report observed that the endemic frictions in inter-governmental relations, especially between the states and the Federal Government suggested that the present constitutional arrangement was grossly inadequate to contend with the nation’s changing democratic and demographic challenges.
It further advised the PDP to push for either a review or an endorsement of the 2014 Constitutional Conference Report or organise a new constitutional conference.
The committee encouraged the PDP to canvass genuine restructuring to foster decentralisation, engenders national unity, guarantee the security of lives and property of Nigerians, no matter where they reside in the country.
Pressing for ideals that promote economic prosperity and the overall well-being of the Nigerian people, the committee also encouraged the PDP to get actively involved in the ongoing constitution review and electoral reforms efforts.
It called on the party to support efforts to make the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) truly independent and to be able to conduct elections devoid of the coercive apparatus of the state, underhand manipulations, and outright intimidation of voters.
The committee charged the party to push for getting the military insulated from the conduct of elections, saying that their presence breeds intimidation and questions the integrity of the process.
“Above all, it denies some of the candidates the level-playing field that is the singular barometer for ascertaining the wishes of the people. Similarly, the Police should be made to be more impartial in the supervision of elections”, it said.
The review committee stressed the need for the PDP to reclaim political leadership at the centre because of the “floundering ship of state, which is not only running adrift but appears to be heading perilously towards a precipitous cliff.”.
Secondus said the report would form the bedrock of the party’s plan ahead of 2023 general elections.