2023: “Why I’m insisting Ayu must quit as PDP National Chairman” – Olabode George

The former Deputy National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olabode George, has said that the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, needs the votes of millions of Southerners, warning that keeping Dr. Iyorchia Ayu as the party’s National Chairman at this time was a high price to pay and a gamble that most likely would cost the PDP another election loss in 2023 General Elections.

George, who gave the warning, yesterday, at a press conference he addressed at his Ikoyi office, maintained that Ayu must resign from office as he earlier promised before the emergence of Atiku as PDP presidential candidate at the party’s convention held in Abuja, some months ago. The PDP chieftain, while giving the warning at the briefing attended by former Lagos State deputy governor, Sen. Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele, among other party chieftains, said he was compelled to address what he described as a “‘clear and present danger’ that might thwart this window of opportunity afforded the PDP”.

This was just as the politician noted that PDP was making promises that every tribe would have a say in government, saying this would be difficult to prove to Nigerians given the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku and its National Chairman, Ayu, coming from the same North. According to him, PDP, with the issue over the chairmanship seat, among others, is at the precipice of a dangerous looming crisis, if not urgently addressed, even as he declared that party unity and inclusiveness of all members were ingredients to a viable strategy for election victory.

George, who described himself as a committed PDP leader, however, accused some party leaders of being directly or indirectly, responsible for the present crisis in the fold “because of their flawed personal interests, which are targeted at disrupting the unity of our great party”. The chief further warned party leaders not to pander towards ethnic affiliation as, according to him, PDP is the only true national party, declaring that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is just a mere congregation of strange bedfellows.

Speaking further, George said the truth must be told that the present power arrangement was not comparable to what existed during the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo regime, pointing out that for the sake of inclusiveness, oneness and togetherness, it does not make any political sense for the presidential candidate and the national chairman of the party to come from the same zone.

According to the PDP chieftain, it amounted to an affront, impunity, and an insult to the electorate and party members from the South, even as cited that party members from the Southern part of the country were now asking the following questions patently whether PDP had thrown its integrity to the dogs and how would they as “Southern PDP leaders convince their electorate to vote for our candidate when there is no substantial National position in the South-West?”

George, while noting that the largest vote in the 2023 General Elections would come from Lagos, which he said was more than seven million, wondered if PDP wanted to do away with those huge votes and whether taking such a step would make any political sense. This was just as he said that at his age, he could not be canvassing for any party position but must be bold enough, to tell the truth to power as one of the fathers of PDP.

Speaking further, the politician said if PDP collapses today, Nigeria may also collapse, describing the party as the engine room of Nigeria. “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,” he further stated.

According to him, “If Dr. Ayu resigns today, the 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”, he concluded.

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