Former deputy national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Chief Olabode George, has warned that the party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar may lose 2023 general election unless the national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu steps down for a southern candidate.
George was emphatic that the southerners will not have any moral justification to campaign to his electorate to vote for Atiku when both the presidential candidate and national chairman are from the same zone.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos on Thursday, George said unless things are done properly, PDP becomes vulnerable as the party is heading for an implosion.
He said; “with two weeks to the commencement of campaign season, that we believe will usher in a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government into Aso Rock in 2023, unfortunately, I am compelled to address a ‘clear and present danger’ that might thwart this window of opportunity afforded the PDP.
“Our party, the PDP, is at the precipice of a dangerous looming crisis, if pending critical issues are not urgently addressed. Party unity and inclusiveness of all members are ingredients to a viable strategy for our election victory.” He added.
George said he was disturbed that some of PDP leaders are, directly or indirectly, responsible for the present crisis in the party because of their flawed personal interests, which are targeted at disrupting the unity of ‘our great party.’
Continuing, he said; “I want our party members to know that as one of the party fathers and as a former Deputy National Chairman of our party, it is not in my character to belittle the interest of our party but when issues arise that may dent the progress of our party one has to speak out and speak loud enough to arrest the attention of our people.
“Aside from the fact that I retired as a Navy General with postings all over this country, I am nationalistic by blood, orientation and global view. As a tireless defender of democracy; I have always fought for equity and justice for all with respect to the constitution of this nation and our party. I have never left our party, no matter the situation that besets me. In addition, I have no iota of tribalism in my blood, but will continue to fight tirelessly to ensure inclusiveness for all Nigerians in the political process of this country and especially in this party where some of us have suffered great injustice for the fight of equity and justice for all. “While I reiterate my solidarity to the tenets of our party constitution, I will not remain passive when the collective unity of this party is fragmented. How we collectively address the issues at stake will be a major determinant of the fate of this party at the next general elections.
“It is pertinent to state, at this point, that I come from a very diverse lineage, with a Nupe great grandmother paternal, and as a descendant of Papa Helas Herbert Macaulay, who by the way in 1946, went to the North to preach politics of inclusiveness but on his return to Lagos caught pneumonia and died. In fact, the first political party in Nigeria was established in his house in 1922.
“Therefore, I repeat that I have no iota of tribalism in my blood and will always fight for inclusiveness for all Nigerians in the political process of this country and especially in this party where some of us have suffered great injustice for the fight of equity and justice for all.”
On why the will of the people must be respected, George said; “Let me reiterate again that the will of the people must be respected and the six top offices in the country must be distributed equitably and fairly because PDP is not a private company.
“The office of the National Chairman must come to the South before we commence the presidential campaign if victory is to be secured in the next general election.
“Nigerians will be happy and eager to elect us next year when they see that our national offices are distributed equitably. If this issue is not addressed urgently, it means some members of our party are working for the opposition or against the interest of our party.
“If PDP collapses today, Nigeria may also collapse because this party is the engine room of our country.
“Obviously, the voice of the people is the voice of God and we should not be pedestrian in our approach to this issue. Let us think of the corporate future of this country and our party.
“The PDP is a good vehicle to drive this country to a safe, secure, democratic, prosperous and viable destination. But how will the vehicle get to the desired destination when some people are busy removing its tyres, battery and engines?We should avoid a situation in which some members will move out of the party or mobilise Nigerians to vote for another candidate.
“Every human being created by God must be given his or her due regard. In politics, we must love our neighbours like ourselves by ensuring that everybody is equitably recognised and rewarded.
“Tribal and religious sentiments will never help us. These were the ingredients that caused the civil war.“What South westerners in our party are asking for is very simple: we don’t want the position of Director-General of the Presidential Campaign, rather, we want the office of the National Chairman, this we have made very clear.
“In a situation like this, people must not be fixated but approachable and dependable. We must give the Southwest a sense of belonging, and a sense of inclusiveness by producing the National Chairman before the commencement of the national campaign. It is not justifiably equitable to have a brother from the North leading the campaign for a Northern presidential candidate. Where then is justice, equity, fair play and inclusiveness?
“This is an appeal am requesting our party leaders to consider, so that we will be at ease to convince the people from the Southwest to support our party.
“This tribal mistrust was not created by our party but by the ruling party, the APC. We must learn to flow with the political tide and not against it.
“If Dr. Ayu resigns today, heavens will not fall. In fact, millions of PDP members will rejoice and prepare, as War Generals, to ensure the victory of our party in 2023.
“Our party must do the needful now. Anything else will be suicidal.
“Let me leave you with this trustworthy saying: “Life looks better when we have something to look forward to.”