By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA – AS the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, finds itself in a critical moment to decide on the controversial issue of zoning its presidential slot or throwing it open ahead of the 2023 presidential election, a coalition called Concerned Groups, Saturday, said former President of Senate, Bukola Saraki’s emergence as Nigeria’s president will cause a paradigm shift and douse the raging tension in the polity.
This was contained in a letter written to the leaders and members of the PDP with subject ‘LET’S GIVE NIGERIA A SPECIAL PURPOSE LEADERSHIP – OUR NOMINEE’ through the National Chairman of the party, and was signed by Alexander Gbenga Obisesan of the Nigerian Group; Obiora Omeje – Movement for Sustainable Leadership; Comrade Rasaq Abata – BS2023 Project; and Musa Ordience Gashu’a – Saraki. Alheri ne_2023.
The letter reads in part, “Nation-building is a collective enterprise. As a country, we have made some gains, and yet many setbacks. Going forward, we need to own Nigeria together. As long as good governance and social justice are served, and there is a sense of ownership by all, the people will accept a good choice from anywhere as their President. We will graduate to the level where the wife or son of a former President can become the President.
“As concerned groups, we shall not shy away from providing an option. We are recommending a nominee whose mandate could help to bring down the tension in the land, assuage concerns and kick start the paradigm shift of electing a President of Nigerian extraction. Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki is the Nigerian to the South and North.
“Dr Saraki represents the Confluence of Politics in Nigeria. While Nigeria’s geographical location has put him in the middle and central of the country, he has been able to live personally above our fault lines. To him, faith is personal and service in general.
“The makeup of Saraki is beautiful for Nigeria. Saraki can speak to the North and South without any mutual suspicion. He is that leader that Nigerians can trust to give us an inclusive government of National Unity and Stability. We cannot address security and economic challenges if we do not have a leader who can unite us and be seen to be fair to all.
“Preparedness for leadership is a great virtue. Saraki is prepared. He has consistently demonstrated leadership in defence of our nation: as the President of the Senate (2015-2019), he championed economic reform, energy reform, electoral reform and security sector reform. Those who ignored his reforms out of political sentiment have realised they made some terrible mistakes. In his private capacity, he has convened several conversations and dialogues to engage Nigerians in problem-solving. His strategy document is exceptional.
“Arguably, Saraki is one person in the race to become Nigeria’s President who cannot be tarred with the divisive sentiments that undermine our unity. He is the choice of Nigerian Youths, Women and People Living With Disabilities. He consults and does not discriminate. We recommend him to the PDP leadership, members and delegates for an independent assessment and scrutiny. Make him the choice of the PDP and Nigerians for a Special Purpose Leadership.
“Dr Saraki is not perfect; he has his flaws and has made his honest mistakes, too, like every good leader. But he is arguably the most improved Nigerian politician we know. He ticks many boxes as a suitable personality that qualifies as The Nigerian President – a President of Nigerian extraction. Give him a chance, PDP. We urge you to let us reason together.
However, the coalition pointed that, “The PDP is in a unique situation. If zoning by the party’s internal arrangement follows the principle of ‘charity begins at home,’ a section of the country with far less of its sixteen years in the party will have their say.
“However, if zoning is externalised beyond the party’s history, another section will have their argument. The calculation about years of military rule that was dominated by a section of the country is not bad, but we all agreed to do away with leadership through the barrel of guns. As a nation, the time has therefore come to rise above our limitations.
“Contrary to naysayers, the agitation over zoning is not a problem that the PDP cannot surmount. It is, however, an opportunity for the party to show courage and rise to the occasion as the Pan-Nigerian party.
“Since 1999, the PDP has produced one President from the Northern zone and two Presidents from the Southern area. The second President from the Northern zone is from the fumbling All Progressive Congress. After 23 years, it is now the time to elect a President of Nigerian extraction – a Special Purpose Leadership.”