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Jonathan: PDP to jettison zoning – ‘President can contest in 2011 poll’

He explained that the party’s national leadership is yet to decide on zoning arrangement, saying that the remarks of the former PDP National Chairman, Prince…

He explained that the party’s national leadership is yet to decide on zoning arrangement, saying that the remarks of the former PDP National Chairman, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, on the issue were based on past events. He said: “It has become imperative for me to make this clarification. Though there is the position of zoning in the PDP’s constitution, it is not a rigid arrangement. It is a flexible arrangement made for the forefathers of this party who wrote this constitution. But I want to let the public know that since 1999 when this party came into existence and started election and appointment of political offices, there has never been a time that anyone has been excluded who is interested in vying for any position in this party, whether you are from the south or east or from the north or west.

“From 1999, you will recall that the election was keenly contested by Ekwueme and Obasanjo who come from different zones and in 2003, the election was keenly contested by the incumbent president, Chief Obasanjo and Barnabas Gemade who is from the North Central will at no time did the PDP screen them out. They were allowed to participate, they went through the process as enshrined in the constitution and the guidelines and a candidate emerged at the end of the day and we jointly worked together for the success of our party.”

Ortom added: “I want to make it very clear that the controversy about 2011 zoning or no zoning, Article 7.2 (c) of the PDP constitution talks about rotation and zoning but it is not rigid. And so, President Goodluck Jonathan is free to contest election if he so wishes or desires at any time. If he decides to contest, nobody can stop him. He is free to do that; the constitution allows him because the constitution of our party is subject to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“I am calling on Nigerians to put this thing to rest, that at no time did we as the NWC discuss and zone the position of presidency. What the National Chairman said last time was just a clarification on what was done before in the past regime and not during our current tenure.

He appealed to Nigerians to stop wasting energy talking about zoning and support the President and Vice President, Namadi Sambo with prayers to ensure that they bring dividends of democracy to the Nigerians.


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