Raymond Dokpesi, leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says his party stands to win power in 2023 if it runs a candidate from the north.
After 16 years in power, the PDP lost to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015.
Additionally, the APC won the 2019 presidential election.
In the run-up to the 2023 elections, the party has been holding strategic meetings and realigning itself.
There has been a clamour for a power shift to the south across parties, including the PDP.
In an interview with Daily Independent, Dokpesi said PDP members pushing for zoning to the South are doing so only because they wish to emulate the APC, whose members are rooting for zoning after President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure ends in 2023.
The party cannot win the 2023 presidential election if it presents a candidate from the South.
“We are all Nigerians and we don’t need to keep deceiving ourselves at this time,” he said. With my 70 years of experience in organizing campaigns in this country, I can confidently state that the PDP does not stand a chance of winning the election without a candidate from the North.”
In response to Southerners’ desire to zone the presidency to the South, I can assert that they are echoing the desires of the ruling APC. APC has been in power for eight years, so it is imperative that it cede the presidency to the South.
“In the case of the PDP, let’s be honest. Olusegun Obasanjo, the former president of the South-West, served for eight years, while Goodluck Jonathan, the former president of the South-South, served for six years. This made a total of 14 years.
“Umaru Yar’Adua from the North did three years, so there is an imbalance of 11 years. Former vice president Atiku Abubakar would have run for a second term in 2023 if he had not been thrown out of the election in 2019. Would anyone have stood in his way? No way!
“Therefore, the PDP’s presidential candidate in 2023 must come from the North. The people should exercise patience, because it will still come back to the South.
Despite his belief that it is fair that the South-East should produce the president, as it has not done so since 1999, Dokpesi claims that the South-East cannot win if it gets the presidential ticket right now.