Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has hailed the decision of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to throw open the contest for its presidential ticket, stating it was done in the overriding interest of the party.
Diri explained that although he is a strong proponent of zoning and rotation of the presidency to the South of the country, he accepted the decision in good fate as a loyal party member.
He spoke at the weekend when former Vice President and a PDP presidential aspirant, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, visited him at the Government House, Yenagoa.
The governor stated that no individual political ambition should be allowed to disorganise and disorientate the party.
He said: “I am one of the strong proponents of power rotation and zoning and I still believe that power should rotate to the southern part of Nigeria.
“However, our party has taken a decision and there is nobody that is greater than the party. As a party member, I cannot stand above our party. I am carefully choosing my words as an umpire because I am holding a very sensitive position as deputy chairman of one of the electoral committees.”
He stressed that the corporate existence of Nigeria would be the guiding principle in choosing a PDP presidential candidate at the party’s convention this month.
“Bayelsa, at the nick of time, will first of all put Nigeria into consideration. Bayelsa will not be part of those that will support the break up of Nigeria. Instead, it will as a matter of fact be part of the writing of history in making Nigeria great,” he added.
Senator Diri, who described Alhaji Abubakar as one of the strong contenders for the party’s presidential ticket, noted that the PDP was more interested in wresting political power from what he described as “the rudderless, directionless and failed government of the All Progressives Congress.”
Acknowledging Abubakar’s contributions to national development, the governor noted that his aspiration was in line with that of the Ijaw ethnic nationality where restructuring and resource ownership were paramount.
Speaking earlier, Alhaji Abubakar stressed that the PDP must put its best candidate forward in order to wrest power back from the APC.
The former vice president called on the party to brace up and be united for the sake of Nigeria, emphasising that the PDP cannot afford to be in opposition again from 2023.
He described himself as one of the proponents of restructuring, a struggle he said he stood for while in office, noting that devolution of more powers and resources must go to the states for economic survival.
Atiku said: “We must put our best forward. Meaning who we believe can bring us back to power. It is very important.
“We must brace up as a political party. We must unite to return our political party back to power. We cannot afford to be in opposition again.
“There must be peace and unity before this country can be governed. That is why I emphasise unity and the need to unify the country. What I mean is that, I am going to give every part, every section, religion and faith a sense of belonging in this country.”