Bode George: If PDP fields a Northerner as presidential candidate in 2027, it will become a ‘Garbage heap of history
TEXT OF A SPEECH BY CHIEF OLABODE IBIYINKA GEORGE, CON, FORMER DEPUTY NATIONAL CHAIRMAN OF THE PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDP) AT A PRESS CONFERENCE IN LAGOS ON MONDAY DECEMBER 11, 2023.
Gentlemen of the Press,
Today is a golden opportunity to re-echo the words of a member of the Council of Elders as stated in Acts 5:27-39 by one of the Leaders as a warning to his Council Leaders to warn them against the killing of the apostles of Jesus Christ our Lord.
They called the apostles to warn them that they had previously been warned not to speak about Jesus Christ again. Peter, an apostle, bravely stood up and told them he would rather follow the instructions of God and not of men.
Gamaliel, one of the leaders, intervened and became the lone voice in the room advising that the apostles should be left alone. Taking a cognizance of that ceremony, I want to stand among our party leaders to act as a modern Gamaliel to advise us to follow justice, fairness and equity.
We should forgive ourselves, everybody worked selfishly and we lost because we failed to follow holiness – we were selfish and greedy.
Let us allow our Almighty God to direct us: Meaning follow the dictates of our founding fathers.
Don’t change the goalpost in the middle of the match. If we do, we will pay a bad price. Allow our God to direct us, not men who can change at any time.
As a life member of the Board of Trustees (BoT), the Upper Chamber and the conscience of our party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), I am raising the alarm today that our party is at the precipice of a looming crisis, if pending critical party issues are not urgently addressed.
I raised the same alarm in the build up to the February 25 and March 18, 2023 general elections but some forces in the party ignored these warnings.
We have seen the results today.
As one of the Leaders of our party in Nigeria, I have a huge responsibility to raise the alarm so that the PDP does not go into the dustbin of history in 2027.
I want to sound a note of warning to some gladiators in our great party, the PDP. If care is not taken, the party may become a ‘Garbage heap of history’ in 2027.
Dustbin of history is a phrase or coinage used to describe an entity, group, organisation or individual that once flourished. At the apex of the existence of such an entity, it was the alpha and omega, the controller of its surrounding.
But, it came crashing down due to a lot of factors, some of which are avoidable. Such a huge downfall can also be described as ‘Ash heap of history’, ‘Garbage heap of history’ and ‘Landfill of history’.
By then, our party will be referred to in the past tense.
God forbid this should happen to PDP.
So, this is the time for all members of PDP to be concerned about the future of our great party.
Obviously, party unity and inclusiveness of all members are ingredients to a viable strategy for our future electoral victories.
Some might say 2027 is still far away but realistically, it is not. In a few weeks, we will be entering 2024 and by 2026, politicking will start for the 2027 elections.
We should not also forget that we have off-cycle elections in Ondo and Edo states.
So, while I reiterate my solidarity to the tenets of our party constitution, I cannot remain passive when the collective unity of this party is fragmented. How we collectively address the issues at stake will be a major determinant of the fate of this party in months and years to come.
It is our determination to ensure that the PDP returns to the Presidential Villa in Abuja on May 29, 2027.
But, we can only go back to Aso Rock if we are united, not divided.
So, I don’t really understand the rhetorics in some quarters these days that a member of the party from the North is strategising or plotting to return as the presidential candidate of our party in 2027.
A Northerner cannot be the presidential candidate of our party in 2027, pure and simple. The earlier some members pushing this agenda know this truth, the better for our collective sanity. I have nothing against Northerners. In fact, my best friend is from the North but PDP members must understand this reality before it is too late that a PDP member from the Southern part of the country must be our candidate and we must all support him to defeat the APC candidate in the 2027 elections.
Until 2031, nobody should think of contesting for the presidential ticket of our party from the North. The real elders in our party should stand up and say the truth.
The truth may be bitter but it must be said without any emotion or else, the founding fathers of our party, some of whom have exited this world, will not forgive us.
Since 2015, we have seen how the APC-led presidency has continued to destroy the economy, burning the bridge that binds us together.
Nigerians are waiting for us in the next general elections but to think of a Northerner as our saviour in 2027 is a joke taken too far.
I still don’t believe the story but, according to a popular saying, there is no smoke without fire.
If it is true, the outcome will be calamitous. This is a ‘clear and present danger’ that may, eternally, work against our party. The moment you remove justice, fairness and equity from any system, organisation or group, failure is knocking at the door.
I cried loudly before the last general elections that we cannot shut out the South from our strategy and hope to win. Two Northerners emerged as our Presidential candidate and National Chairman. We all saw the outcome.
I can boldly say that those who supported that idea gave the opportunity for Tinubu to become the president today and a repeat of that fiasco will lead to the end of PDP in 2027.
I want to alert Nigerians that the primitive agenda that led to the PDP losing the February 25, 2023 presidential election is rearing its ugly head again.
I want Nigerians and PDP members to know that Chief Olabode Ibiyinka George, one of the founding fathers and a former Deputy National Chairman of our party, is not anti-party and will never do or say anything against the interest of this party but I abhor and hate injustice at any level.
I am a tireless defender of democracy; have always fought for equity and justice for all with respect to the constitution of this nation and our party. I have never left the party, no matter what situation besets me.
How we collectively address the issues at stake will be a major determinant of the fate of this party in 2027.
I have no iota of tribalism in my blood. I stand to fight for inclusiveness for all Nigerians in the political process of this country and especially in this party where some of us have suffered great injustice for the fight of equity and justice for all.
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 collection of strange bed fellows.
Members of this great party must be ready to seize this opportunity to move this country forward.
We should not allow any sentiment – ethnic or religion – to divide us.
What is urgent now is to tinker with the 1999 Constitution (as amended). That document must be reworked for this country to move forward.
The power at the centre is just too much. This is the time to empower states because development starts from the grassroots.
To solve insecurity, states must be empowered to have their internal security mechanism through state police.
That is the only way forward.
As PDP elders, this is exactly what we must be telling the government.
Unless we are united, with equity, fairness and justice being the pedestal for any political decision taken, this party will be heading to disaster in 2027.
According to reports, some governors are against the plot to return a Northerner as our presidential candidate in 2027.
How can we go into the 2027 election season with this type of division and expect to win the presidential election? Unless we are united, unless we have fairness, equity and justice in our system, the party and the country are heading nowhere.
In the build up to the 2023 presidential elections, I was shocked about the quality of response from some of our members, so divisive and arrogant.
All the party elders saying then that the National Chairman should not resign, where are they today?
The largest vote in any election will come from Lagos State, which is more than seven million. Because of ethnic factors, Lagosians were shut out in the last election and we all saw the result.
Is something wrong with us? If we don’t change the narratives now, I strongly believe it is going to be a suicide mission, a self-destructive journey for our party in 2027.
I am not looking for any position but as one of the founding fathers of PDP, we must say the truth always.
With the suffering in the land and the mismanagement of the economy by the ruling APC since 2015, Nigerians are waiting for us in 2027 to kick APC out of Aso Rock but how will this be possible when, probably due to selfish interests or ethnic attraction, some of our leaders are becoming less and less patriotic in their decisions?
With the rhetorics flying around, are we going to have a Northern Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) and a Southern Peoples Democratic Party (sPDP) in 2027?
If these issues are not addressed urgently, it means some members of our party are working for the APC 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.
Obviously, the voice of the people is the voice of God and we should not be pedestrian in our approach to this issue. Let us think of the corporate future of this country and our party.
The PDP is a good vehicle to take 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 engine, due to selfish interests?
We should avoid a situation in which some members will move out of the party or mobilise Nigerians to vote for another candidate in 2027.
The APC has completely messed up the country and Nigerians are waiting for PDP in 2027. So, this is the time to put on our thinking caps.
“We should also avoid a repeat of the pitfall of the past.
Our party must do the needful now.
Anything else will be suicidal.
Let the remainders be our reminders that with God all things are possible.
Chief Olabode Ibiyinka George
Atona Oodua of Yorubaland
December 11, 2023