13th October, 2021
The Chairman, Social Democratic Party (SDP), Delta Chapter, Mr Oke Idawene, has asked leaders of Southern Nigeria to go and lobby their Northern counterparts if they want the presidency to come to their zone in 2023.
Idawene who said this while speaking to News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday, however said his party is opposed to zoning, describing it as undemocratic.
“For the Southern leaders, am from the South, if you want the presidency in 2023, I call on you to lobby, power is not given for free, it is taken, and it is a collective responsibility,” Idawene said.
He advised political leaders in the zone to leave their comfort zones and go up north to lobby, giving reasons why the south should produce the country’s next president come 2023.
Idawene added that every Nigerian was qualified to run for the presidency irrespective of regions, ethnicity and religion.
According to him, SDP was not for zoning but for competence, adding that it was time we stopped “regional tendencies“ in the country.
He said that Nigeria is one, saying that no matter the situation, the country would not disintegrate, adding that it would be great with the support of all and by God’s grace.
“Let us elect a leader who is a true Nigerian both in body, soul and spirit, so that at the end of the day, we can say Nigeria is going forward not backwards.
“Enough of us being a laughing stock, enough of retrogression, it’s time to move forward, SDP is anti- zoning, we believe in competence.
On Nigeria’s unity, he appealed to all to support the unity and development of the country.
Idawene assured Nigerians that the country would not disintegrate, appealing to secessionists to stop the agitations and blood shedding.
“IPOB, I beg you to stop the killings, the South-East needs peace, no man runs from his house because there is trouble, let us all come together and sort Nigeria out, this should be seen as our responsibility,” he said.
He commended the Independent National Electoral Commision (INEC) and its Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu for experimenting with electronic voting at the recently held Delta Isoko South Constituency 1 election.
“The Biometric Voter Accreditation System (BIVAS) was used and there was no election rigging in that election.
“For the first time in Nigeria, I went for an election where until the election morning, the collation officers were not known, and the voting pattern was clear, there was no fictitious vote, and we had genuine votes.
“To this end, I think we should give INEC all the support for electronic voting and collation of election results.
“It is only then that we can get genuine leadership and know that Nigeria is tilting towards democratic tendencies” he said.
He expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for allowing INEC to do its job unhindered in the state.
Idawene called on politicians and in particular the National Assembly to support INEC to adopt electronic voting come 2023.
“And I want to say that we all owe it as a duty to stand behind INEC and re-write the narrative, so that at the end of the day, we will have a Nigeria where our votes count, where we can say we have a future ahead of us.