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Northern elders, youths disagree over zoning of PDP chairman

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja
02 December 2017   |   4:25 am
The race for the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party  (PDP) has created a sharp division among party members in the North.

Professor Jerry Gana

The race for the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party  (PDP) has created a sharp division among party members in the North.

To that extent, a group of northern elders led by Professor Jerry Gana who preferred the Southwest zone for the national chairman is now pitched against a group of northern youths.

The group, led by former Adamawa State acting governor, Umar Fintiri and a former House of Representatives member, Sani Kutigi, had wanted the chairmanship position reserved for the entire South of the country.

At a press conference in Abuja yesterday, the northern PDP youths dissociated themselves from the resolution of the PDP Northern elders that the South West produces the party chairman.

The PDP youths described as obnoxious and objectionable the plot by some party members from the North, who have purportedly micro-zoned the National Chairmanship of the party to the South West in a bid to give advantage to a preferred aspirant.

The PDP youths declared that the plot is contrary to the agreed arrangement of the party, which they said remained unchanged.

They said the Jerry Gana group lacked authority to speak on behalf of the entire North as a homogeneous entity and was, therefore, on its own.

“Their action is hereby rejected and totally condemned. Majority of members from the North dissociate themselves from this misadventure, which portends unintended consequences if left unchallenged.

“It is an insult to southern politicians and leaders that few members from the North could sit down and determine who to elect as chairman.

“Party members from the North pledge to support only a free and fair process where a new National Chairman will emerge regardless of where he comes, so long as he is from any state in Southem Nigeria,” they said.

The youths cautioned that if the PDP must reinvent itself as the true vanguard of democracy in the country, it should not allow certain elements to hijack due process in the upcoming National Convention, as this would only amount to going back to an inglorious past.

A communique signed by former Kano State Governor, Ibrahim Shekarau and former speaker, Benue State House of Assembly, Margaret Icheen after the meeting of the PDP Northern Elders and Leaders Forum, which ended yesterday in Abuja, the delegates were urged to vote for only aspirants from the South West zone.

“As we head to the national convention, the forum showed keen interest on the position of the National Chairman.

“After extensive deliberations, it was resolved that, in the spirit of fairness, equity, giving every geo-political zone a sense of participation and inclusion in the affairs of the PDP, we strongly support the Southwest zone to produce the next Chairman of the party.

“This is without prejudice to the right of aspirants from other geo-political zones to contest,” it stated.