A former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, has said it is imperative for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to zone its 2023 presidential ticket to the northern part of Nigeria, stressing that victory in an election is based on strategy, not sentiment.
Kwankwaso spoke during an interview with Channels Television, where he also made his views on the 2023 political calculations known.
But the PDP leadership, in a reaction, said the party was yet to zone its presidential ticket.
Kwankwanso, a former two-term governor of Kano State, condemned the insistence of the Southern Governors Forum in July 2021 that the next president of the country should come from their region rather than canvassing what was best for the country. He said the south’s insistence on producing the presidential candidate of PDP ahead of 2023 was an attempt to intimidate the north into relinquishing its right to contest the seat.
According to Kwankwanso, “Many people are mixing what ordinarily shouldn’t come together at all. We have PDP, we have APC, we have APGA and we have many other parties today in this country. And the issue of where a party puts its presidency or vice presidency is a matter of strategy.
“If you look at it from 1999 to date, or even after 2023, we have 16 years for PDP, eight years for APC. Now, in the 16 years of PDP, we had a situation, where the presidency has been in the south for 14 years and only in the north for two years during the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua of blessed memory.
“Now, we see some people, maybe because they don’t understand politics or they want to be mischievous, they keep on mixing the two issues of two political parties. This PDP and APC are contestants in this game.”
The former governor debunked rumours of his planned defection to APC. He said, “As we speak, there is no plan for me to leave the PDP to join APC, or any other party.
“Of course, there were issues, which are very clear to almost everybody; that we had congress in April last year in Kaduna, which I felt and many of my supporters in the North-west and even beyond felt that I was not being treated well and Kano was not being treated the way it should be.
“And, therefore, I believe that was the beginning of those issues, to the extent that people thought because of that, we would leave the PDP for APC or any other party.”
But PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Okigunagba, said the party was yet to decide where its presidential candidate would come from. The main opposition party said its response on the presidential ticket issue would not be as former governor of Niger State, Aliyu Babangida, who said the presidential ticket had been zoned to the north.
Aliyu had, while receiving Atiku Abubakar’s support group, said PDP had zoned the presidential ticket to the north.
Ologunagba, however, declared, “For the avoidance of doubt, the PDP emphatically and unequivocally states that it has not zoned its presidential ticket to any part of the country.
“The PDP is a political party founded on democratic principles and every action of the party, including zoning, is based on extensive consultations, discussions and consideration of all the issues as well as the various tendencies and interests across the nation, with the main objective of ensuring that the unity, peaceful co-existence and development of our nation are reinforced and promoted.
“The PDP, therefore, urges Nigerians, our teeming members and supporters to completely disregard the unfounded zoning claims as being peddled. Our party also cautions those behind the claims to desist forthwith.
“The PDP thanks Nigerians across board for the overwhelming interest they have in our party as their sure platform to rescue and rebuild our nation from misrule and urges them to remain united and focused as we join forces for the task ahead.”