A member of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Ebenezer Babatope, yesterday, in Benin City, declared that the zoning arrangement of the party, jettisoned after the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua, led to the defeat of the party in the last presidential election.
He said, therefore, that for the PDP to stand a chance in regaining the presidency in 2019, the party may have to pick  its presidential candidate from the North, adding that, apart from  impunity and arbitrariness, imposition, allegedly exhibited by the PDP “bureaucracy ahead of the elections, the PDP did not  resolve the agitation by northern leaders that the presidency should be ceded to the area  due to the sudden death of Yar’Adua until the problem consumed the party and made way for the defeat  in the 2015 presidential election”.
Babatope, who urged the PDP to imbibe internal democracy and allow the younger generation to take over the leadership, said,  however, that the insinuation 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 arrangement for 2019, and  therefore we must be ready for 2019″.
The PDP leader spoke, yesterday, while delivering a lecture entitled: “Nigeria’s  16 Years of Democratic Experiment-Which Way Forward?, organized by Edo State New Dawn, a group under the PDP in the state. The event was attended by members  of the  party mainly from Edo South,  led by the leader of the group and former Chief  Whip of the Senate, Senator Rowland Owie;  High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, chairman of the occasion; Dr Isimeme and Chief Samson Esemuede. Others are PDP governorship aspirant, Chief Solomon Edebiri; Hon.Ifaluyi Isibor and many others.
“Facts remain, however, that we (party elders) made mistakes in the preparations of our party for the elections. For example, it was wrong for our party’s Board of Trustees not have met when we were engulfed with the party campaigns for the elections. Our party played into the waiting hands of the opposition with this kind of situation,”Babatope stated.
“Any of the political parties in Nigeria that attempts to bring impunity to our system or that attempts 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”.
In his welcome address, the leader of the New Dawn, Owie, said: “We are asking the 8th National Assembly to urgently commence the amendment of the Constitution which they have done twice to give autonomy to local government councils but unfortunately some House of Assembly that are rubber stamp turned it down because if you don’t have autonomy of the local government, Nigeria can’t develop the rural area.
“In the next line of amendment, any House of Assembly in Nigeria that votes  against autonomy of the local government, the Nigeria Labour Congress, the ALGON, the market women and men should take possession of the  Assembly, they wouldn’t sit until they support the autonomy of local government because enough is enough of destroying that arm”.
On his part, Dokpesi, who explained that the New Dawn in Edo  was meant to rebuild  the PDP collectively, said  members were determined to “reconstruct this party and bring it back to power in Edo in 2016 and at the federal level in 2019”.