Raymond Dokpesi, chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says his party stands a chance of regaining power from the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 presidential election if it fields a candidate from the north.
The former chairman of DAAR Communications Plc said this in an interview with Daily Independent on Thursday.
The PDP was the ruling party for 16 years before President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC defeated former President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 presidential election.
Dokpesi said going by the tenure of office of those elected presidents on the platform of the PDP since 1999, the north has an “imbalance of 11 years”.
He said those demanding that the south-south produce the next president in 2023 “are only echoing what prevails in the APC” because Buhari will complete his eight years and ought to hand over to the south.
“We are all Nigerians and there is no need for us to keep deceiving ourselves at this point in time. At the age of 70 and with my experience in organising campaigns in this country, I can tell you that unless there is a candidate from the north, in my own considered opinion, the PDP will not stand a chance of winning the election,” he said.
“On the ambition of those from the south who are today asking for the presidency to be zoned to the south, I can say that they are only echoing what prevails in the APC. In APC, President Muhammadu Buhari has done eight years, so it is imperative for APC to cede the presidency to the south.
“In the case of PDP, let us look at it honestly. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo from the south-west did eight years; Goodluck Jonathan from the south-south also did six years. That made a total of 14 years.
“On the other hand, Umaru Yar’Adua from the north did three years, so there is an imbalance of 11 years. If in 2019, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar had not been rigged out of that election, he would have come back in 2023 to say that he wants to do a second term. And would anybody have stood in his way? No!
“So, for the PDP, the presidential candidate must come from the North in 2023. People should exercise patience because it will still come back to the south.”