FORMER Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Bode George has given another dimension to the lingering controversy within the ranks and file of the party over zoning of the Presidential Candidate and the Chairman of the party to the north.
The Chieftain of the party on Arise TV Morning Show maintained that PDP has nothing to use as campaign strategy against the opposition party in the region.
Although he did not directly mention Tinubu’s name in his remarks, he, however, alluded to the difficulty PDP will encounter in campaigning against the presidential candidate of APC if South-West is not given a national role in the party’s structure.
“But how do I go on the campaign trip in the South-West and tell the people that look, we are ready and you must vote for our candidate? We must realise that the opposition party has its own presidential candidate from the South-West and he (Tinubu) will tell them (voters) I have the presidential ticket, what does the PDP have on its ticket for South-West?
“Let’s assume the south has the presidential ticket, vice presidential ticket and chairmanship position, how will our PDP brothers from the north take it? Will they be happy? All I am saying is to ensure justice and fairness and if they say they don’t want it, history will be on the side of the truth.
“And if at this age I can’t tell the truth, then what am I doing in politics? It is not a matter of forcing Ayu out. Remember, Ayu himself stated and I quote him: “If the presidential candidate emerges from the north, he will resign as the Chairman of the party to allow the balancing”. We are simply just saying “let us be mindful and don’t let us overdrive this,” he said.
George’s concern comes on the heels of his backing for the resignation of the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu.
According to him, Ayu’s resignation became imperative to ensure balance in the party. He argued that Ayu’s resignation will help PDP convince Nigerians as the right party to vote for during next year’s election.
He said the calls for Ayu’s resignation was in line with the constitution, saying the PDP Chairman had himself promised to resign from his position if a northerner emerged as the party’s presidential candidate.
However, George reiterated that zoning is more important now than it was in 1998/1999.
The elder statesman, who noted that he had been part of the party’s system for a long time, said he knew what was right for the party.
He said, “In fact, the need to have zoning now is more important than in 1998/1999. Maybe some of these people don’t understand the concept that led to the thought processes of our founding fathers.
Because it is an unwritten law it is up for debate and I hope we have the opportunity to put it down in writing and everybody will be able to read it.
“Those saying they don’t believe in it (zoning) and don’t want it are saying that because they don’t understand what brought about it but I am talking because I was part of the system from the very beginning and we have a saying from my part of the world that when you have old people in any association, they (old people) always make sure they correct the mistakes of the young ones and I am trying to refer us to that concept (zoning) that was established and brought about sanity to the nation.
“Now that we are trying to manoeuvre the concept that came from us to suit certain purposes and personal ambitions, it is going to drive us to the canvass and that is what I am saying.
“We are not asking Ayu that he should be zoned out or forced to resign. We are asking for this in the sense of oneness and inclusivity for him to throw in the towel and let us balance the top positions. We are going to campaign in my zone and we want our party to win. If it is not going to affect the party, I won’t bother,” he said.
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