A chieftain and former deputy national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olabode George, has insisted that the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, should resign to give a southerner the chance to fill the position as the party’s national chairman.
The PDP chieftain said on Thursday that one of the questions PDP members were asking was how the party could go into election season with divisions and expect to win the presidential election.
George stated that the present arrangement in the party which had the presidential and national chairman positions filled by persons from the north could not continue to stand.
He made this known while addressing newsmen in Lagos on Thursday, claiming that Ayu’s refusal to resign portrays that members of the PDP in the South don’t matter.
George said, “In May this year, we elected our presidential candidate in the person of HE. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, setting aside the principle of rotation as enshrined in the constitution of our party in the interest of peace and unity of our party. Today, we are in a situation in which our National Chairman is from the same zone as our presidential candidate.
“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.
“Presently we are not in government; therefore we only control three of these six positions namely: Presidential, Vice Presidential Candidates and National Chairman.
“I remember that Dr. Iyorchia Ayu said pointedly that if the Presidential Candidate emerges from the North, he would resign for a new National Chairman to emerge from another zone before the presidential campaign starts.
“The other three positions are futuristic. It is only when we win the elections that we will fill these positions namely: the Senate President, the Speaker and the Secretary to the Federal Government.
“As a result of the need to have inclusiveness, oneness and togetherness, it does not make any political sense for the Presidential Candidate and the National Chairman to come from the same zone.
Now, we have a situation in which some elders are saying “it does not matter”. Can we go into the election with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, from the same zone, leading our National Campaign?
“This will be an affront; an impunity, and an insult to the electorate and party members from the South. 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;
“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? How can we go into the election season with this type of division and expect to win the February 25 presidential election?”.