Doyin Okupe, a former presidential spokesperson, has advised the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not to present a northern candidate for the 2023 presidential election to avoid another defeat.
Okupe also said the party could collapse before 2023 if the current spate of defections in the party continues.
The PDP chieftain said this in an interview with journalists in Abuja on Saturday, September 18, 2021.
He explained that the reason major politicians are defecting from the party is because of the issue of a northern presidential candidate.
“The gale of defections in the Peoples Democratic Party has nothing to do with any form of crisis. It is just part of happenings when a general election is approaching”, he said.
“Those who have defected have personal issues with party leadership, especially on the zoning arrangement.
The issue of zoning shouldn’t be a basis for defections at this time because the committee set up to determine that will soon conclude their assignment and submit their report.
However, there is a strong indication that the party is erroneously tilting towards zoning the presidency to the North.
Zoning is a veritable instrument that ensures equity and balancing in the nation, gives hope and confidence and support to our national unity.”
Okupe also argued that the zoning arrangement in the PDP, which according to him started in 1998, has to be reviewed because the arrangement expired in 2015, when the party lost to the All Progressives Congress.
He further explained that it won’t make any sense for the PDP to present a northern candidate after the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s presidency.
He said, “The zoning arrangement which the PDP started since 1998 was based on the assumption that the party will be in power consistently but the moment it lost power in 2015, automatically the arrangement has to be reviewed in view of the development
When the PDP lost power, there was a southern president in power. If the party didn’t lose power and completed in 2019, zoning would kick in and power would have shifted to the North.
However, the party that won the election presented a northern candidate who by 2023 would have ruled for eight years.
We still carried on as if the former arrangement was still in place in 2019 and it was justifiable.
In 2023, with APC having ruled for eight years with a northern candidate, it will be preposterous, unjust, uncaring and blatant for the PDP to zone the presidential ticket to the north because the arrangement expired the moment our party lost power in 2019.
There should be a reset of the zoning arrangement in 2023. It does not make sense to replace a northern government of eight years with another northern government for another eight years, it doesn’t make sense.
That is why the PDP should zone the presidency to the South. The southern governors who are the leaders of the South had spoken, we should listen to then.
It will be folly, reckless and insensitive for any political party to ignore the position of the southern governors.”
Okupe also addressed the rift between Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state and the National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, saying the struggle between them is unnecessary.