Bode George
Bode George

By Dapo Akinrefon

FORMER Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olabode George, weekend, warned that any attempt to jettison the zoning arrangement will affect the PDP’s chances in 2023.

George, who gave the warning when he met with selected journalists in Lagos, insisted that the PDP will lose the trust of Nigerians if it goes against zoning arrangement.

Citing Section 7 sub-section 3(c) of the party’s Constitution, he noted that in the spirit of equity, fairness and justice, the PDP must zone the presidential ticket of the party to the South East.

Recalling how the founding fathers of the PDP came up with the idea of zoning, he said the leaders took the decision to ensure equity and fairness just as he urged the National Working Committee of the party not to ignore it.

His words: “So no zone, whether you are minority or majority, will go home without something to show to their people. But when you look at it like that, after eight years, all positions in the south will go to the north and all the positions in the south will come to the north.

“But they never envisaged a situation where you will have another political party that can produce the president. It wasn’t in their political equation. And you know we were always boasting that we would remain in power for the next 60 years. But the APC produced a northern President in 2015.”

George, who was a member of the PDP zoning committee, said the zoning committee had only made a recommendation by saying the Presidential ticket should be thrown open, urging the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the PDP “to listen and feel the pulse of the people on the issue.”

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He said: “When the National hears all the voices coming from the country, and they see that this can break or make Nigeria, maybe some sense will come into the discussion.

“Some people are arguing that President Muhammadu Buhari is not from our party and I laughed and told them that he may not be a member of our party but he is from the North.

“Personally, my view is that the PDP should make a definitive statement that this thing is zoned to the South, so that we will be seen as not only obeying the law of our party, we will appear before that lady of justice blindfolded with the sword and the scale. She doesn’t care who you are, the truth will come out and I am saying this for posterity’s sake.

“If we start counting from 1960, together with the military era, how many people have occupied this position from the north and how many from the south? We should stop counting from 1999; it is half-measured counting. The party must come out and be honest and say that this thing must go to the south.

“Though, we don’t have the power to override our national Constitution which gives every Nigerian the right to contest for any position of the land except you are an ex-convict. We must be strong enough, to tell the truth to power, that is the very fundamental of democracy.”

Expressing worry over the lingering crisis rocking the Lagos PDP and other state chapters as a result of the last state congresses held by the party, he urged the National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, to as a matter of urgency to revisit these issues with a view to finding a lasting solution.

He warned that failure to adhere to this warning may affect the chances of the party in the states where these crises seem unresolvable, citing Lagos and Kano as examples.

George pointed out that looking into these issues and addressing them on time will prepare the party for the battle ahead.

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