The Igbo Leadership Development Foundation (ILDF) has threatened to work against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) if the party fails to zone its presidential ticket to the south-east.
The socio-political group issued the threat on Thursday in response to the recommendation of a PDP committee that the party should jettison its zoning formula ahead of the 2023 elections.
The recommendation was made by the Bala Mohammed-led panel which was set up to review the party’s performance in the 2019 elections.
Although the PDP had said the submission is not final, the ILDF told journalists in Abuja that the recommendation is part of a plot to zone the party’s presidential ticket to the north.
Godwin Udibe, chairman of the group, said the PDP could lose votes in the south-east — which it won with a wide margin in 2015 and 2019 — if its presidential flag-bearer is not from the region.
He said: “Such party leaders pushing for the jettisoning of zoning and rotation of presidential seat when their zones have filled the office based on the same principle, are promoting injustice in an unhealthy and ungentlemanly equivocation, which goes to reinforce the belief by many that there is no honour and decency in politics in Nigeria, particularly in the PDP.
“We in ILDF can only remind such leaders in the PDP and indeed in all political parties who now believe that zoning no longer matters, to refresh their minds and recall that the one reason the PDP lost power in 2015 was because of repudiation of zoning which presupposed that the north should complete its eight years under former president Umar Yar’dua.
“We need not remind those politicians who believe that the PDP will return to power at the center through elite conspiracy to read the handwriting on the wall and see a repeat of history in the making.
“The protest votes, which swept the PDP out of Aso Rock, is fermenting again and the leaders who are goading their political parties along the inglorious path have only themselves to blame if they do not perish the plot forthwith.
“ILDF wants to place on record that we recognize the fact that all these surreptitious moves to scuttle zoning in the political parties is aimed at stopping the south-east from producing the president of Nigeria in 2023, being the only zone yet to take a turn on that count in the southern part of Nigeria.
“Consequently, we call upon the critical stakeholders of the PDP in particular and all the other political parties and indeed all well-meaning Nigerians to urgently and publicly denounce the Bala Mohammed report.”
With the next elections barely two years away, there has been a controversy within the PDP and the All Progressive Congress (APC) about whether to zone their presidential tickets to the south-east.
In 2020, David Umahi, governor of Ebonyi state, dumped the PDP for APC, saying the move was to protest the “injustice” the former has done to the south-east.