Diri said this when he received a Peoples Democratic Party presidential aspirant and Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, on Thursday, at the Government House, Yenagoa.
Mohammed had stormed Bayelsa State to formally declare his intention to contest the presidency in the 2023 general election.
According to Diri, the demand of the Southern governors that the presidency be zoned to the South could not be achieved without the support of the North, and vice versa.
Diri, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, asked the PDP members to collectively work for the success of the party in next year’s presidential election.
According to him, as an opposition party, what should be paramount was how to wrest power from the ruling All Progressives Congress, which, he said, had lost grip of governance in all aspects.
While restating the call for the PDP to zone the presidency to the South, the governor stressed the need for political offices to be rotated among different parts of the country to ensure equity, fairness and justice as exemplified by the PDP in its last national convention.
Diri, however, while commending Mohammed for starting his presidential declaration from Bayelsa, said that God remained the ultimate decision maker on who becomes the PDP flag-bearer and that he would support whoever emerges as the party’s choice.
He told his guest to speak on issues about the party and how to better the lot of Nigerians, saying that the world and Nigerians were looking up to the PDP to salvage the country from total collapse occasioned by the bad governance of the APC.
Diri said, “Nigeria is waiting for the PDP. Our party must be united and support whoever emerges. Even in our quest for a Southern President, we need the North. We have to court the North, speak with the North and whoever that God so appoints to be the President.
“But let us all caution ourselves that we are in opposition. It appears some of us still do not understand that fact. We should be talking about ‘we’ and not necessarily ‘I’. At the end of the day, the final decider is God. If God decides it won’t be a president from the south, we cannot run away from that decision. We will stand by our party and work with that person.
“I am one person that has said so much about our party’s offices to be rotational. That is what we did in the convention where we zoned offices. That is for fairness, justice and equity. I like to restate and re-emphasise that we need to be at the centre. Nigeria is falling apart and we need to rescue the country. The world is looking up to the PDP for Nigeria to work again.”
Responding, Mohammed said he did not believe in sectionalism but equity, fairness and justice.
He described Bayelsa as his second home, adding that he was in the state to formally declare his intention to run for the presidency.
The Bauchi State governor advised other PDP aspirants to be humble in the quest to get support for their presidential ambition, adding that he would support whoever emerged as the party’s candidate for next year’s presidential polls.
He said, “This is the first time I am stepping out to express my aspiration as a presidential aspirant. I have come to Bayelsa to meet our party. To say to the outside world for the first time that I am running for the presidency of Nigeria.
“You know my public life and antecedents, I don’t believe in sectionalism. I believe in justice, equity and fairness. I have benefited so much from Nigerian patriots from every part of the country.
“The one I have benefited most is from Bayelsa, who assisted me to come to national limelight. I will never take that for granted. That is why I am starting with Bayelsa. This is my home after Bauchi.
“I believe in Nigeria and if I am not there, whoever is the candidate, I will support. I respect people. I may not be the best.”