The main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party, has been warned not to present a northern candidate for the 2023 presidential poll.
Doyin Okupe, a former presidential spokesperson, warned during an interview session with journalists in Abuja at the weekend.
According to him, the party ended the zoning arrangement in the 2019 presidential election, which is the prominent reason politicians were defecting to the ruling party because of a northern presidential candidate.
Okupe added that if the defection continues, the party will collapse before the next general elections.
In his words: “The gale of defections in the Peoples Democratic Party has nothing to do with any form of crisis. It is just part of happenings when a general election is approaching.
“Those who have defected have personal issues with party leadership, especially on the zoning arrangement.
“The issue of zoning shouldn’t be a basis for defections at this time because the committee set up to determine that will soon conclude their assignment and submit their report.
“However, there is a strong indication that the party is erroneously tilting towards zoning the presidency to the North.
“Zoning is a veritable instrument that ensures equity and balance in the nation, gives hope and confidence and support to our national unity.
“The zoning arrangement which the PDP started in 1998 was based on the assumption that the party will be in power consistently, but the moment it lost control in 2015, automatically the arrangement has to be reviewed given the development.
“When the PDP lost power, there was a southern president in power. If the party didn’t lose control and completed in 2019, zoning would kick in, and emphasis would have shifted to the North.
“However, the party that won the election presented a northern candidate who by 2023 would have ruled for eight years.
“We still carried on as if the former arrangement was still in place in 2019, and it was justifiable because within the PDP at that time for us to put forward a northern candidate.
“In 2023, with APC having ruled for eight years with a northern candidate, it will be preposterous, unjust, uncaring and blatant for the PDP to zone the presidential ticket to the North because the arrangement expired the moment our party lost power in 2019.
“There should be a reset of the zoning arrangement in 2023. It does not make sense to replace a northern government of eight years with another northern government for another eight years; it doesn’t make sense.
“That is why the PDP should zone the presidency to the South. The southern governors, who are the leaders of the South, had spoken; we should listen to them.
“It will be folly, reckless and insensitive for any political party to ignore the position of the southern governors.
“Some people who think they control wealth are talking within the party while reasonable and strong men are keeping quiet. Some are being given money to keep quiet.
“The struggle between Secondus and Wike is unnecessary. It ought not to have degenerated to this level. Our party may lose again if we zone the presidency to the North again in 2023, ” Okupe added.