A former Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Mr Omolade Oluwateru, has said that the Peoples Democratic Party is not interested in zoning its gubernatorial candidate to any senatorial district but in picking a credible and sellable candidate.
Oluwateru told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Akure on Wednesday that PDP was not interested in who the candidate was, but in a person with credibility and the charisma to deliver the state for the party.
The former deputy governor, who said that 17 aspirants had already shown interest, with many of them from the southern senatorial district, assured that the party would conduct a smooth and credible primary to pick a credible candidate, not necessarily on zoning arrangement.
“We have not zoned the party’s standard-bearer to any particular senatorial district; but, when the party picks his candidate, we can now begin to zone the running mate and other positions to zones, to ensure the spread of political offices across board.
“PDP has been very fair on the zoning arrangement, especially in the southern senatorial district of the state and this is what most people love in the party till today.
“The party is not limiting its standard-bearer to any particular senatorial district; we are already looking for a person whose pedigree will win for us.
“There are many parameters being taken into consideration in selecting a credible candidate, and the position of the party will be made known soon,” he said.
Oluwateru explained that the party was ready to conduct smooth, free, fair and violence-free party congresses at ward, local government and state levels between March 4 and April 7, to pick party officials.
He described PDP as a popular party and major threat to the incumbent government in the state, noting that if the election was conducted in a free and fair manner, PDP would win with a wide margin.
The former governor described the Agagu/Oluwateru administration under PDP as the best government in the history of the state, saying that their government was able to bring so many innovations to the governance.
He said that over 90 per cent of the appointments made by the administration were within the party, especially at the grassroots level, and not from outside the state.
He also debunked the rumour making the rounds that Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu might likely emerge the PDP candidate for the October governorship election if he eventually lost out at the All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries.
He urged INEC to live up to its expectation in conducting free and fair elections in the state.
NAN reports that Oluwateru was the deputy governor to the late Agagu between 2003 and Feb. 2009.
NAN also reports that Oluwateru was the Nigerian Ambassador to Uganda between 2012 and 2015, under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.