ABUJA â€” FORMER Federal Commissioner for Information and elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, has said that if there was zoning in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, late Stella Obasanjo wouldnâ€™t have begged him to appeal to the South South Governors, when they came out in 2003 to contest for the partyâ€™s primaries.
This is coming, as theÂ Executive Secretary of the E.K Clark Foundation, Dr. Mike Oberabor has saidÂ thatÂ Chief Clark was not informed of the controversial N18m from Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State.
Chief Clark who spoke in his Abuja residence, yesterday said the principle of zoning,Â adopted in 1999 in PDP was done to pacify the Yorubas and not a principle enshrined in the PDP constitution as a way of picking its presidential candidate for any election.
He also unveiled the Goodluck for Nigerians project by Nigerians in United Kingdom, UK, led by its Coordinator, Mr. Charles Sylvester, to promote accountability, good governance and leadership in Nigeria,Â saying that as far as he was concerned, there was nothing like zoning in PDP.
“There was nothing like that, so zoning had been dead as it was done to please the Yorubas. As you are aware of the fact that the National Chairman of PDP, Mr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, has made it very clear to everyone of us that zoning, which started in 1999 with PDP has been breached and is dead.”
“This is because in 2003, the former Vice President, Atiku Abubarkar, who was next to Obasanjo, challenged him. He wanted to take over from Obasanjo after four years,” he added.
If there was zoning for eight years for Obasanjo, Atiku would not have been the one to challenge him.”
In fact, he mobilized most of governors from the South_South including James Ibori; Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and Lucky Igbinedion to fight Obasanjo.
â€œIn fact, Obasanjo and the wife almost went down on his kneels to plead with Atiku to leave him alone to continue. Even Obasanjoâ€™s late wife, Stella, who was very close to us, called me on phone to appeal to the South_South governors at that time.
â€œIf there was zoning, that shouldnâ€™t have happened .When Atiku Abubarkar withdrew, then Abubakar Rimi continued with his Presidential ambition. At that time, Gemade was the Chairman of the PDP while Rimi was a governor and senior member of the PDP.
â€œThey paid for their forms, the party collected their forms and they contested against Obasanjo. So, if the Presidency was zoned that time, PDP would have refunded their money, sanctioned them or even prevent them from contesting .But this never happened.
â€œIn 2007, the issue of zoning was not there. It was done in 1999 to please the Yorubas. That was why Obasanjo, immediately he came out from prison, was made the choice of the people of the Northâ€.
The Elderstatesman who noted that it was the comment of former PDP national Chairman, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor that gave a few Northerners to begin to discuss the present issue, said that majority of Northerners do not believe in zoning, adding that itÂ was under his leadership that a delegation was sent to North West and North East to plead for the support of the candidature of the South south.
Speaking during the event, the leader of the group, Mr. Charles Sylvester, said,â€Nigerian professionals in Diaspora believe thatÂ Jonathan will provide good governance for the generality of Nigerians.Â We are using the platform called wwwnigerianleadership to promote accountability and good leadership in Nigeria .He is already the President and we believe that his tenure should be extended to continually provide purposeful leadership for Nigerians who have been neglected over the years .
â€œWe believeÂ that Goodluck Jonathan will return Nigeria to the path of greatness. In the past, politicians have thought of themselves and not of the Nigerian citizens. However, the time for change has come.