A member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Ebenezer Babatope, has declared that uncertainty over whether President Muhammadu Buhari would contest the 2019 presidential election or not may trigger a division within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), adding that the PDP, as a party, must position itself to reap from the anticipated split.
Chief Babatope, who said that the zoning arrangement jettisoned by the PDP after the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua caused the defeat of the party in the March 28 presidential election, pointed out that the PDP stands a chance of regaining power in 2019, only if the party picked its presidential candidate from the states in the North.
The former Aviation minister stated this in Benin at the weekend while delivering a lecture entitled: “Nigeria’s Sixteen Years of Democratic Experiment: Way Forward?, organised by the New Dawn, a group within the Edo State chapter of the PDP.
Babatope, who urged the PDP to imbibe internal democracy and allow the younger generation to take over the leadership of the party, said talks that President Muhammadu Buhari may not run in 2019 due to his age, “may become a major problem that may trigger a dangerous split in the party’s (APC) arrangement for 2019, therefore, we must be ready for 2019.
“Any of the political parties that attempts to bring impunity to our system or attempt to push off the effective voice of the people in the determination of its presidential candidate, will kiss the political dust and sentence itself to total failure and collapse.
“The PDP, having suffered defeat in 2015 due to impunity and anti-democratic process, will completely write itself off if it once again destroys the democratic process by closing its doors to popular opinion and democratic will in the selection of its candidates.
“If the APC decides to subvert democratic process of nominating candidates for the election, it will equally sentence the party and the party’s operations to irredeemable frustration and despair. In other words, 2019 will decide many things for Nigeria’s future as a democratic nation” he stated.
The event was attended by leaders of the PDP in Edo, including the leader of the New Dawn and a former Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Rowland Owie, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Chief Samson Esemuede, Mr Solomon Edebiri, Honourable Ifaluyi Isibor , among others.