Enyinnaya Abaribe, one of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) aspirants for Abia governorship election, has said that zoning the position to a particular area is not enough to produce the desirable candidate for the party.
Mr Abaribe, who is the Minority Leader in the Senate, said this on Tuesday in Aba when he spoke with reporters.
“My issue is not about zoning. I am against people saying there should be no contest. If you are saying there should be no contest, you are simply supporting mediocrity.
“Since all parts of Abia have done the geographical zoning that has brought us to this sorry path where nobody is very happy with Abia at the moment, it is time to zone with capacity and I am the person with that capacity. So, I don’t have any problem with that.
“What we should have now is wherever you are from in Abia, show your hand (competence); come out and campaign and let the people of Abia who are delegates make their choice,” he said.
Mr Abaribe said that all qualified aspirants should be allowed to contest, irrespective of their zones since the country was operating a democratic system.
“We are dealing in democracy. It is all about choice. Let delegates reject me and I will respect their choice.
“But I will not respect the choice of anybody who will say I am an authority, therefore you will not run. Nobody will shave my hair in my absence,” he said.
Mr Abaribe said that the Abia PDP Chairman, Asiforo Okere’s endorsement of zoning the state’s gubernorship position to two senatorial districts was unconstitutional and against the rules.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Mr Okere had signed a document zoning Abia governorship position to Abia North and Abia Central.
“I am not against zoning. I agree with zoning but not geographical zoning which has not led us anywhere.
“Rather than do clockwise and anti-clockwise zoning so that you go and get somebody who is not prepared for office, you should zone for competence, zone for integrity, capability and capacity,” the senator said.
He said he was already consulting and talking to Abia people and telling them that as a people they have the power to change the direction the state was moving.