The issue of zoning is likely to cause some rancour within the caucus of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) if the leadership refuses to issue an explicit statement on the matter soon.
The issue again reverberated at a summit convened by the South-South Zonal leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to effectively articulate the interests of the geopolitical zone within the prevailing political and economic realities in the country today.
The summit, the first of its kind, was held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, themed; “Engendering a South-South agenda for 2023 and beyond,” with an emergent communique read by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu.
Elumelu reiterated the position of the Southern Governor’s forum for the next President to hail from the region in 2023.
He stated, that “The zone is fully in support of the position of the Southern Governor’s forum that the next President of Nigeria must come from the Southern part of Nigeria.
“The zone is unequivocally committed to the enthronement of true federalism in all its ramifications in principle and practice.
“The summit was convened by the South-South Zonal leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party in its committed quest to effectively articulate the interests of the South-South geopolitical zone within the context of prevailing political and economic realities in our nation today, and to reposition the Zone as a key driver of critically needed focussed efforts at national rebirth in these challenging times,” the lawmaker noted.
Elumelu also charged the Federal Government to issue a mandate over the creation of state police in order to tackle insecurity across the country.
Other issues on the agenda were the “abysmally poor state of the national economy; a situation that has been compounded by the daunting scenario of prolonged fuel scarcity, ever rising cost of petroleum products, and the all but total collapse of the national power grid.”
In his welcome address, Governor Udom Emmanuel the host Governor, gave an explication of the rationale behind the summit and stressed the imperative of evolving a zonal consensus on specific issues as they affect the States in the geopolitical zone, and the need to define and engender an agenda for engaging with the rest of the nation in the march towards 2023 and beyond.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Chairman of the South-South PDP Governors Forum spoke in the same vein, stressing unity and co-operation.
On his part, Nyesom Wike, the Rivers State Governor said, “The Southsouth is the pillar of the PDP. If the Southsouth is the pillar of the PDP, they must be treated with fairness, justice and equity.
“It is not only when it comes to work, it is not only when it comes to giving votes that we will all remember that the Southsouth is the pillar. When it also comes in terms of sharing, they should remember that this is the pillar of the party.”
Wike charged his colleagues, National Assembly members and other stakeholders from the zone to set aside their differences in the overall interest of the PDP,” he said.
At the meeting were Nyesom Wike (Rivers); Governors Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom); Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta) and Douye Diri (Bayelsa).
Other dignitaries in attendance included PDP National Vice Chairman (South-south), Chief Dan Orbih; Senator George Sekibo; former Deputy House of Reps Speaker, Austin Opara; former governors Liyel Imoke (Cross River) and Celestine Omehia (Rivers).
Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki was the only Southsouth PDP governor absent at the meeting.