Former Minister of Transport and member, PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Ebenezer Babatope has said that regional or zonal considerations should not be allowed to determine which part of the country produces the president in 2023. He said the two major political parties; APC and PDP should be allowed to nominate candidates of their choice for the election. He however said that the South East geo political zone is more deserving of the position than the other five zones in the country.
According to him, the platform of political parties that candidates usually come up, is parties that serve as platforms to produce candidates. Babatope said that the North wants to produce candidates is not a problem if the parties they belong to agree with them, but then they should go ahead.
"What I know is that, it is the parties that have the prerogative to produce the candidates and not the region or zones," he said.
Babatope said that the PDP will sit down, discuss the issue, and then map out the right strategies that will enable us to win the election. Moreso, he mentioned that the issue of candidates for elections should be decided by political parties. "PDP should pick candidates that will win elections for them, and APC should also be allowed to pick candidates that will win elections for them."
"If APC is thinking of fielding a Northerner, that’s their own problem,I’m not a member of APC. But if you are talking of PDP,I will advise my party about the right path to take but like I said earlier, the issue of candidates should be decided by the parties.But let justice,and fair play be manifest in picking the candidates.
"For us in PDP, we believe in party supremacy, and when it is time for us to pick candidates for the election this is what will come into consideration.
"The party leaders will meet, and take decision that will be in the best interest of our party.
Chief Babatope's reaction about the Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi's decision to defect to the ruling party, All Progressive Congress, APC is that David Umahi is free to go anywhere he wants to go and nobody can hold him down but what he knows is that by the grace of God, "PDP will win the next general elections in 2023 because Nigerians are already tired of APC’s inept administration."
"Nigerians are fed up.Go and ask Nigerians today how they feel about APC led government.
"Nigerians will not allow APC to win the next general elections because APC has not done anything spectacular for them.
"Nigerian people will not make the mistake of voting for APC again in 2023.We in PDP are already aware that Nigerians are fed up with APC, so we are bracing up to win the next elections.
"Dave Umahi’s defection, we in PDP are already fed up with the reports because we have been hearing about it for a long time.
"Let him go wherever he wants to go. He is free to join APC if he wants to . Although anybody that leaves the party is a big miss but the party will not die because someone leaves the party on his own volition," he said.
According to Babatope, "If some other PDP governors want to join Umahi let them go ahead but what I know is that God will decide the 2023 general election in favour of those who favour the people, and the PDP right now favours the Nigerian people and it is my hope that APC will not do anything that will obstruct PDP from sweeping into power come 2023.
"Although some people may be thinking about the implications of that should it happen but then this is democracy,you can’t force people against their own wish. The Nigerian constitution guarantees freedom of expression, and association. It is ideal that they should remain in PDP but if they want to leave the party nobody can hold them against their wish.
"Some Nigerians are saying that all these unfolding events have to do with 2023, and the party’s presidential ticket being zoned to the South-east but what I know is that it is the party that will take that decision. If it is the wish of the party to give the ticket to the South-east, why not? The South-east has good materials like other zones.
"I believe that PDP should try to give it to the South-east on the basis of equity, and justice because it is the only geo-political zone that is yet to have it since 1999. Other five geo-political zones have had it but however this is my own personal opinion, it is the party that will take the final decision, it is the party that will have the final say over the issue. What is however important is that there should be justice for all. What I know again is that the PDP will never deny the South-east the right to field candidates for elections including that of the presidency."