Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has said it is the prerogative of the National Executive Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to take the final decision on zoning.
Ortom, who is the Chairman of PDP Zoning Committee, said this when he featured on an ARISE TV programme on Wednesday.
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On Tuesday, the 37-member committee met for over three hours, after which they said recommendations had been sent to the NEC of the party.
The committee was also said to have commended the contestants who have chosen to unite themselves and work for a consensus candidate.
A member of the committee from the North had said more than half of the committee members have keyed into the zero zoning arrangement to enable all aspirants to participate in the primary exercise during which a presidential candidate will emerge.
“It is too late to stop aspirants from contesting and because our ultimate goal is to win, the majority of us have agreed that the race be thrown open to all. We are going for a zero-zoning arrangement.”
“The polity of today requires a national leader that is going to reinvigorate the cohesion and unity of the country. What Nigeria needs is not a zonal president, what we need is a Nigerian president. And, therefore, we are throwing it (contest) open,” he had said.
But speaking on Wednesday, Ortom said his committee was being quoted on what it did not say.
“I want to clear the insinuation that the zoning committee has thrown open the presidential ticket. I did inform the media yesterday (Tuesday, April 5, 2022) that the committee has adopted a unanimous position to be presented to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party. Where did I say that the committee has thrown open the presidential ticket? The committee will present the report to NEC. It is NEC that has the final authority on the zoning of positions.
“As far as the committee was concerned, there were arguments that the presidential candidate should go to the South. While some said it should go to the Northern part of the country. There were others who were of the opinion that it should be thrown open for the best candidate who will be able to deliver good governance and make Nigerians feel like human beings again.
“As the chairman of the committee, we did not say that. So it is very wrong for anyone to insinuate that we have thrown the presidential ticket open. I am still repeating that, whatever we did, we have submitted our report to NEC. So it is wrong for the media to come out with a position despite the fact that they were not members of the committee.
“I came out to brief the media. So it is wrong completely. I did not say that. And like I said, NEC is the final authority on deciding where this position will be zoned to.”