By Celestine Ajayi
Chief Dan Orbih, zonal leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says that the choice of the party’s candidacy in the 2023 Presidential election will be determined by the political terrain prior to the general polls.
He said that the clamour by its members for a South South presidential endorsement showed their maturity as stakeholders but would be decided upon after members fully examined the country’s political terrain for a balance.
Orbih gave the indication in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin while reacting to the increasing agitation by party loyalists from the zone for the party to zone the 2023 presidency to South south.
He, however, noted that the clamour was an indication that the party was a very organised one.
NAN reports that Orbih emerged the National Deputy Vice Chairman, South South of the party at the party’s zonal congress held in Port Harcourt a forth night ago.
He was returned unopposed at the congress held at the Obi Wali International Conference Centre with 960 votes out of the 964 votes cast by delegates from the six states in the zone.
According to him, before the party goes into any presidential contest, it will sit and look at what is on ground politically.
“Based on that the party then takes a position on the zone where the candidate will come from.
“No doubt there are lot of persons who feel strongly that there is need for the party to formally zone the presidency.
“First, it will reduce rancour among members. Secondly, it will give direction on what the party is looking at.
“Another thing is that as a matter of strategy, if the party settles for a zone, it means we will take advantage of the place the party has zoned it to.”
He, however, disclosed that as at present, the party had yet to zone the presidency in the forth coming 2023 general elections.
He also explained that those agitating for the presidency to be zoned to South South were of the strong opinion that the zone should return and complete its denied second tenure.
“They also argued that considering the votes normally garnered by the party from the zone, the party should not overlook the South South in considering where the 2023 candidate should come from.
“They are just going by the saying that to whom much is given, much is expected.
“The zone has given so much to the party in terms of votes, party loyalty, commitment, and what have you.
“So they feel that the party should not overlook them when it comes to the issue of the presidency.
“They believe that the votes they normally poll from the zone can even be doubled if a candidate from the South South is considered,” the PDP leader said.
On the issue of internal party discipline, Orbih said that people must be able to exercise their rights.
According to him, that is why it democracy is all about.
Chief Orbih said that his emergence as the Zonal leader of the party was a recognition of his good job to the party.
He noted that party members recognised his achievements especially during his tenure as state party chairman in Edo.
He also said that his emergence was a challenge, in the sense that as at today, the zone is the only zone where all the states are under the control of the PDP.
“My immediate task is to sustain the party’s hold on the zone and reconsolidate on our position and see how we can even increase the number of votes in the zone for the party to get back to power all over,” he said.