By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA-A former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and chairmanship aspirant in the December convention of the party, Chief Bode George has continued to advance reasons for aspiring to lead the party into the 2019 general elections. According to him, the circumstance of the times leaves no room for experimentation.
George, a retired Navy Commodore and one time military governor of old Ondo State, is one of the leading candidates in the race that also has the likes of Professor Tunde Adeniran (former Education Minister), Professor Taoheed Adedoja (ex- Minister of Sports and Special Duties), Prince Uche Secondus (erstwhile PDP Acting National Chairman) and Otunba Gbenga Daniel (former Ogun State governor) among others.
Few hours after obtaining his Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms recently, George was cornered by newsmen to speak on his motivation for seeking the votes of party delegates in the December election. Engaging his usual gift of the garb to good effect, George spoke brilliantly, arguing that his ambition is rooted on the exigency of the times.
“Are you not too old to run for this office”, a reported asked, to which the aspirant had this to say.
“ We don’t have the time for trial now. We need those who know the constitution of the party; those who have the courage and experience. After the convention we shall be having a general election. Do you want those who do not have the experience to lead the party to the 2019 general election? “
While arguing that he would probably had taken the back seat if the PDP had not lost the 2015 Presidential election, the former chairman Board of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) warned on the dangers of having an untested politician man the affairs of the party ahead of 2019.
“Can we afford to have someone who has no experience, who has never been in charge of party affairs?” he queried, as he stressed the mileage of a chairman “Who has seen it all. One who must avoid the pitfalls and mistakes of the past.”
In a chat with Vanguard, Thursday, a former Minister and chieftain of the party who pleaded anonymity, said George is the most qualified in the pack of those currently aspiring to lead the party to victory. According to him, the power of mobilization, grassroots appeal and public visibility set George apart from the rest.
“It is true that all aspirants have experience in one form or the other. The question to ask is whether the experience is related to party management or not. Bode George for me, is better placed to lead us into this battle and the earlier we all realize this, the better.
“For those of in the PDP, the role he played and still playing in the growth of the party is legendary. We are talking about a man who knows the instrumentality of party politics, a man who knows how to unite people, a conciliator,” he added.
As it were, it is still a long walk to the chairmanship following the controversy surrounding the position of the South-West caucus of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) to prune the number of aspirants in the race
Impressive as his credentials are, lobbying and consultation remain key in his quest to become the face of the party, preparatory to the 2019 general elections as every aspirant has a thing or two working in their favour.