DESPITE the zoning of the Niger State Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) seat to zone ‘C’ by the state party leadership, a former Governorship candidate of the defunct Social Democratic Party, SDP, Dr. Mustapha Abdulsalam from Lapai under zone ‘A’ has insisted in joining the governorship race.

It will be recalled that based on the ‘gentleman agreement’ that the seat should be rotated between the three Senatorial districts in 1999, zone ‘A’ produced Engr. Abdullahi Kure, followed by zone ‘B’ that had Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, the incumbent governor, while the next zone is suppose to be ‘C’ under the said arrangement.

Abdulsalam, who disclosed this in Minna, the state capital, while inaugurating his?Advisory Stakeholders Committee from all the eight local governments that make up zone ‘A’, said when the time comes, he will contest, even though, the seat has been zoned to zone ‘C’.

According to him: “I know that my intentions to vie for the seat will be a threat to the zoning arrangement in state, because the zoning formula in operation in the state is not in the nation’s Constitution nor that of the ruling PDP at national level and should therefore be discarded.”

“Irrespective of the zoning arrangement, I am coming out for the party’s primary. I am in the race to serve the people of Niger State. After all, the so called zoning or gentleman arrangement was not followed by the national body of the party.??

He also faulted the zoning of the governorship slot by the state party leadership to zone ?C?, which he claimed has only 20 per cent PDP membership from the Senatorial district.

“Imagine, the only Senator from the zone is from the All Progressive Congress, APC, and 60 percent of those representing the zone in both? House of Representatives as well as?the State House of Assembly are all from the opposition parties. Yet, the party is insisting in zoning the seat to the Senatorial district that has just about 20 percent PDP members,” he added.

The medical doctor, who is taking a shot at the gubernatorial seat for the third time, argued that based on this submission, the state PDP leadership should allow those aspiring for the seat to participate in the primary without any restriction as a result of the alleged zoning.

The Advisory Committee Stakeholders drawn from the all the eight local governments that made up zone ?A’ were given the mandate to go to all other two? zones and local government areas to? sell the candidature ahead of the primary elections.

It would be recalled that the State PDP Secretary, Alhaji Aminu Yusuf had insisted that the zoning agreement adopted by the party in 1999 still stands, despite agitation by some people to drop the arrangement.

Yusuf during an interview said the other two zones; ?A? and B? had enjoyed from the policy, while zone ‘C’ is the next one, adding that, “Even if the zone presents 20 candidates for the election, it is its turn.”

Also in view of the arrangement, the state Governor, Babangida Aliyu, recently during a courtesy visit by PDP members from Wushishi Local Government said three persons had approached him on their intention to run for the governorship seat that all hail from zone ‘C’, which, include the Deputy Governor, Hon. Ahmed Musa Ibeto.

Others are the state commissioner for Works, Alhaji Muazu Bawa and the incumbent chairman of Wushishi? local government area, Alhaji Saidu Abubakar, respectively.

Aliyu also made it clear that justice, equity and fair play would be the watch word in selecting the party’s’ standard bearer, saying that the party is one in the state, hence anyone caught trying to cause confusion will be treated as an outcast

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