Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State says the focus of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 Presidential elections should be winning and not zoning.
Wike said this on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Tuesday.
The governor said zoning – which is an arrangement that ensures rotation of political power among ethnic blocs – is a luxury that only ruling parties can afford.
Wike, who is from the same zone as his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi, said when he was contesting the governorship election in 2015, there were suggestions that he should not be given the ticket of the PDP because of the zoning arrangement in the state but out of necessity, he was allowed to run.
Responding to a question, he said, “When I came on board, people were saying no, the position shouldn’t control us (sic) because of my ethnic group but there was an argument that we are an opposition party. What we want to do is to win elections.
“As an opposition party, we look at all variables. What will make us win the election (comes) first. That is what is important to us. The ruling party can say that (zoning) but for the opposition party, there are variables.”
When asked to state his position on the raging zoning debate, the governor responded, “It depends. As an opposition party, we look at all variables. Forget about other parties. We look at all variables and our own concern is how do we win, how do we get back power.
“So, it is not one factor that will influence (decisions). So, many variables will come into play. So, it will be wrong for me as an opposition person to say this must be done now. No, I will not do that.”
Mamman Daura, a nephew, and ally of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had stirred a debate last week when he stated that zoning should not determine who emerges the next President in 2023.
Buhari, who is from the North-West geopolitical zone and a Fulani, will complete his tenure in 2023.
However, there have been rumours that major political parties may still present northern Presidential candidates in a bid to boost their chances of winning.