Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State has said the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is currently not concerned about the zoning of the presidential position to any geopolitical region, but on how to win the seat in the forthcoming general elections in 2023.
Tambuwal, who stated this in Minna during an interview with journalists, said the zoning formula adopted by the party in 1999 was the idea of the political class midwified by the government at the centre to address the issue of June 12.
He explained that the arrangement was not also done to completely erode the constitutional rights of candidates who want to contest for the presidential seat in any part of the country.
According to him,” there was no zoning, when you go back to our history, you can see that zoning is not our problem. The main issue is political parties throw up candidates for Nigerians and then Nigerians decide who becomes their president”.
He argued, “the south, in particular, the south-west in 1998, 1999, the APP, alongside AD worked out a ticket that saw the emergence of Chief Olu Falae and Umaru Shinkafi in 1999, it was a deliberate plan by the political class of this country midwified by the government in the center to address a particular concern, the June 12, how come when we saw the advent of COVID-19 and we were not applying HIV drugs to COVID-19.
“The power shift in 1998, 1999 to south-west was to assuage a particular situation. Go back to the history of democracy in Nigeria, in 1979, NPN had president Shehu Shagari, NPP had chief Azikiwe, UPN had chief Awolowo, GNPP had Ibrahim Waziri and PRP had Aminu Kano, there was no zoning. When you go back to 1992,1993, SDP had Chief Abiola, NRC had Bashir Tofa, Even in 1999 Abubakar Rimi contested even in the PDP, and in 2003, people contested against Obasanjo for his second term. Rochas Okorocha contested along side late Umar Yaradua and Mohammed Gusau contested in 2007.
“So, the zoning arrangement made then was not made to completely erode the constitutional rights of candidates. I have given enough on the evolution of Nigeria for you to know that it’s not about zoning. And, for PDP, I recommend highly, we should be working on how to win the elections,” the former speaker of the House of Representatives insisted.
On the alleged comment credited to him that the south-south cannot rule, Tambuwal denied the allegation, describing it as untrue and mischief from the originator.
“I have supported a south-south candidate in Nigeria, Good luck Ebele Jonathan in 2011 and he won the election. So, how can I who had supported the south-south say that it cannot rule. How can I who has supported south-south now say the south-south can not produce the president of Nigeria,” he said.
Asked how he would tackle the issue of insecurity in the country if elected, the presidential aspirant said he would develop a community base response by setting up the state police, increase manpower and deployment of technology to address the challenge facing the country.