The Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ahmed Makarfi, has told members of the party that the office of the national chairman of the party is open to all the three zones in the southern part of the country.
The three zones are South-West, South-South and South-East.
He spoke against the backdrop of rumours making the rounds that the office had been zoned to the South-West.
Makarfi gave the explanation in Abuja on Tuesday at a meeting he held with all the eight aspirants who have shown interest in the office. The meeting was held at the national headquarters of the party.
A former Governor of Oyo State, Chief Rashidi Ladoja, who just returned to the party, was at the meeting, which indicated that he would also be running for the position. Ladoja returned to the party a few weeks ago, He left the PDP to join Accord Party about eight years ago.
Also at the meeting were Chief Bode George, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, Prince Uche Secondus, Chief Raymond Dokpesi and Chief Gbenga Daniel.
Before the meeting went into a closed-door session, Makarfi declared that his committee did not have the power to alter the zoning arrangements that had been agreed to by the national convention of the party.
At the national convention held in Port Harcourt in 2015, the party zoned the office of the national chairman to the southern part of the country, while the presidential slot was ceded to the northern part.
Makarfi, a former governor of Kaduna State, told the aspirants that the decisions taken by the national convention of the PDP and its National Executive Committee could not be reversed by either him or the national caretaker of the party.
Makarfi said, ”We have no power beyond the convention and I want to remind all of us, the only thing the convention did was to zone two positions and as chairman or caretaker committee, you cannot go beyond that.
“The office of the national chairman is zoned to the South while that of the president is for the North. No micro zoning.”
Briefing journalists at the end of the meeting, George, who spoke on behalf of the aspirants, said they had agreed to work together in the interest of the party.
He said, “We had a very useful meeting with the NCC. We agreed that we will remain civil and educate our followers because it is a family contest. It is not a matter of life and death.
“We have agreed and you can see us now holding our hands. There is no quarrel; let the best man win.
“That is the spirit of the party; that is the spirit we are sending to the public because we want to win the minds and hearts of the public that we are better managers.”