The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has said it will not stop Northern aspirants from contesting its presidential ticket come 2023.
PDP made the clarification amidst intense calls for a power shift from the North to the South for the 2023 presidential election.
It said it would leave the ticket open for all aspirants irrespective of their states or geopolitical zones.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Debo Ologunagba, said the party would not stop anyone on the basis of age or where they come from.
Ologunagba, in the statement, said, “We must rescue the country from where it is today, and in doing that, we do not have to think of where the next President would come from, but the ability, experience and integrity to work.
“In the PDP, persons from every part of the country will be allowed to contest, but we can only boast that the primary will be free, fair, transparent and credible. We cannot be talking about zones in deciding who becomes the party’s presidential candidate.
“Everybody that qualifies to run and is interested will be allowed to run. Nobody will be stopped. We will be guided by the party’s and the country’s constitutions.
“We won’t shut anybody out of the electoral process. When the time comes, all party organs will be involved in the decision-making process on the guidelines for the party’s presidential primary.
“These organs include the ward, local government, state, zonal executives, the National Assembly members, Board of Trustees and the National Executive Committee of the party.”
“But I want to say that I am in PDP; I am not in APC. It is the APC that has this burden of zoning the presidency to the South. In my party, the last President was from the South, and he was my President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
“During this period, my party was at the centre for 16 years; 14 of those years were led by the people from the South, so where is the justice and the justification? Therefore, it is the turn of the North to produce the President.
“This presidency, if we want to be just and equitable to Nigerians, especially the young generation, should be open to everybody from every section of the country, even from the South, the North, everywhere so that Nigerians will be given the opportunity to elect or recruit the best that can provide a solution.”
To this end, prospective aspirants from the North, including former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar; a former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki; Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, his counterpart in Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, a former Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, and others are free to contest.