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PDP risks losing 2023 polls if Ayu fails to resign – Bode George

The Former Deputy National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Bode George, on Thursday, warned that PDP risks losing the 2023 elections if its National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, fails to resign.

George said this at a press conference in Lagos. The PDP leader, who noted that heavens won’t fall if Ayu resigns from office, insisted that the vote of confidence passed on the National Chairman at the NEC meeting does not hold water.

He said: “My advice to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is that he needs the votes of the millions of Southerners and that by leaving Dr. Ayu to remain the National Chairman of the party at this time is a high price to pay and a gamble that most likely will cost the PDP another election loss at the next polls.

“We must, therefore, objectively defend the interest of our party. What can be greater than peace? It is when our party is united, peaceful, focused and organised that we can take the country back from the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“Let me restate that the position of National Chairman must revert to the South now and not after the general elections. If we don’t do that, then you are telling some Nigerians that you don’t need them to win in 2023 and that will be very unfortunate. This will be a direct insult on Nigerians because no party can win massively from one side of the country without the other side. We need majority of national votes to get to the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

This intervention is about ensuring that we do what is right, just and equitable to all stakeholders.

“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.

“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 Southwesterners 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.

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”

He warned the party’s Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar not to take PDP leaders and members from Southern Nigeria for granted saying “Our party must do the needful now. Anything else will be suicidal.”

His words: “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.

“Pitiably, some of our 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.

As leaders of the party, we must not pander towards ethnic affiliation because PDP is the only true national party. The APC is just a mere congregation of strange bed fellows.

“We should not allow any sentiment – ethnic or religious to divide us. Unfortunately, with what we are presently witnessing, our party may lose the next presidential election if we continue to disregard or fail to address the feeling and grievances of ‘alienation’ being presently experienced by the entire Southern population of this great country. If this issue is dismissed, we cannot expect votes from them.

“We should be seen to pursue noble causes and not ethnic agenda. Ethnic groups in this country are at the precipice of collapse. It has never been this bad historically and Nigerians are waiting for us to change the situation of things for the better.

Some people are insisting that there is nothing wrong with this present arrangement. Some have argued that this happened during Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, where the candidate and the national chairman were from the same zone.

“Dr. Ayu promised openly, before the presidential primary in May, to resign, if the Presidential Candidate emerges from the North. So, why has he refused to honour his words? Why is he reneging? What is driving his reluctance not to resign?

“We are promising Nigerians that when we get to government, every tribe will have a say in government but now, how do we want Nigerians to trust us when we cannot fulfil a simple promise? Our National Chairman made a pledge and in such a short time he has broken the pledge.

“Our party members from the South are now asking the following questions patently:

Have we thrown our integrity to the dogs?

“How will Southern PDP leaders convince their electorate to vote for our candidate when there is no substantial National position in the Southwest?

“What is happening now is that many Southerners are feeling alienated, two weeks to the commencement of the presidential campaign

“I know that the Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) and Chairman, Governors’ Forum have resigned but of what importance is this? In our party hierarchy, Chairmen of BoT and Governors’ Forum are not that powerful. They are not even among the top six positions of our Country. They are not important to the present discussion.

“Let me declare categorically that the positions of Presidential Candidate and National Chairman cannot come from the same zone. Period.

“I am shocked about the quality of response from some of our friends, so divisive and arrogant.

Our presidential candidate in the person of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has emerged, so what is wrong if Dr. Iyorchia Ayu steps aside honourably? Is our party an ethnic business enterprise or a private organisation?

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that there is crisis ahead. The need to revisit this decision as quickly as possible is urgent.

The general public perception, today, is like we are encouraging a Northern Peoples Democratic Party (NPDP) and a Southern Peoples Democratic Party (SPDP) instead of the undivided and united National PDP.”

On the vote of confidence passed on Ayu at the party’s NEC meeting, he said: “I want to say that the vote of confidence supposedly passed on Dr. Ayu and the NWC at the last party National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting cannot hold sway because most of our Southern members of NEC were absent from the meeting.

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