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Prominent PDP leader, Chief Bode George has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) the ruling party in Lagos, APC of manipulating six members of his party in the state House of Assembly to defect to APC. George however, vowed that “APC would not get away with this. We are going to recall those PDP lawmakers. We will also ask INEC to declare their seats vacant.’’ In this interview with TUNDE THOMAS, George also explained why former President Obasanjo is wishing PDP dead.

How would you react to the recent defection of six out of eight lawmakers elected on the platform of PDP to APC on the floor of Lagos State House of Assembly?

To say the least, the action of those lawmakers from our party amounts to an act of betrayal. It is betrayal of trust reposed in them not only by PDP   as a political party but a betrayal of the confidence reposed in them by   those who voted them into office. What their action showed once again is that human beings cannot be trusted, it is only God
that you can trust. These are young people who are expected to be the leaders of tomorrow. But   with these lawmakers’ action, I’m afraid for the future of this nation. The question you ask again   is this, where has principle and integrity gone? Where is the future of this

It is sad that when these lawmakers got to the House of Assembly, they forgot the platform that took them there and decided to join APC, a political party, which members of their own constituencies had rejected during the elections.

But the lawmakers while justifying their action claimed that PDP is embroiled in crisis, and that….
Cuts in … That’s not correct. Assuming that PDP even has one crisis or the other, is APC the alternative? The crisis in APC is more serious than that of PDP. APC is not a political party. It is a congregation of strange bedfellows. PDP is still strong and remains the most viable political party in Nigeria. No doubt, the party at the moment is passing through trying  period but then, disagreement is normal in any human setting. We agree to disagree. By abandoning PDP for APC, those lawmakers are   jumping from frying pan into fire. They’ve burnt their own fingers. We know the antics of APC, especially of those leaders and godfather in Lagos State. APC should be ashamed that what it couldn’t get through election, it is getting it through the back door.

Are you saying the party manipulated these PDP lawmakers to join APC?                                                                                                                                            

APC is a party of desperate elements. Nothing is beyond their leaders. APC leaders are not happy by the gains made by PDP during the general elections of 2015 in Lagos State. During that election, and for the first time since 1999, PDP dazed APC leaders as they were stunned by the electoral victories of PDP across several local government areas of Lagos State. Many APC leaders were defeated in their own constituencies. Even though, APC leaders had hijacked six lawmakers elected on the PDP platform but I can confidently boast that APC days are numbered in Lagos State. Lagosians are now wiser. Their eyes are now open. Lagos State is under APC bondage, but Lagosians are now ready to remove this yoke of bondage. As the saying goes , everyday is for the thief, but one day is for the owner. If not for manipulation over the years, APC   would have become history in Lagos   State. Thank God, council polls would soon be coming up, Nigerians should wait for surprises. My hope is that the election would be free and fair.

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Has the last been heard about the lawmakers’ defection?

Definitely not. Both the APC and the defecting lawmakers would soon  hear from us. The party (PDP) has been receiving protest letters from members of the constituencies of these lawmakers asking us to sanction them for betraying them, we have also been compiling signatures from their constituencies seeking their recall from Lagos State House of Assembly. We won’t allow them to go scot-free. They can’t eat their cake and at the same time expect that they would   have it. PDP will ask INEC to declare their seats vacant. We are going to recall them. Our party (PDP) is not in crisis in Lagos State.

On the crisis in PDP at the national level, and the decision by Senator Ahmed Markarfi and those in his camp to go to the Supreme Court to challenge the Court of Appeal decision recognizing   Senator Modu Ali Sheriff as the party’s National Chairman…….

Cuts in …Which crisis are you talking about? As far as some of us are concerned, PDP still remains one family. We are not split. Every structure is still in place. We (Markarfi group) went to the Supreme court because we don’t want PDP to be hijacked by some elements who were not there with us when this great party was formed.

Markarfi group, which comprises all PDP state governors, many founding fathers of the PDP, several lawmakers in states and National Assemblies went to Supreme Court to get justice. We were shocked by the Court of Appeal‘s verdict. The Court of Appeal took a hasty decision in recognizing Sheriff as PDP National Chairman.

In PDP’s constitution, the general convention of the party is regarded as the supreme organ, and the decisions taken at the party’s convention is regarded as sacrosanct. Such decisions can’t be reversed until the general assembly in another convention repeal such decision or decisions taken earlier. This is expressly stated in PDP constitution.

You know Sheriff was in the first place appointed as the Acting National Chairman of the PDP. He was to act for three months before a substantive Chairman was to be elected at the party’s convention. Sheriff was not a member of PDP, he was brought to serve out the term of  the former National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu who  resigned his appointment. Sheriff was brought as a replacement for Muazu because party members wanted somebody from the Northeast zone like Muazu to serve out his term.

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Sheriff completed the remaining three months of Muazu’s tenure, and from that moment, his appointment as Acting National Chairman of PDP had lapsed. Surprisingly, by that time, he had started showing   his intention to become a substantive Chairman of the party. He made his intention   known to the   delegates at the convention ground, and he was set to contest   with others for the National Chairman position of the party when this crisis started. Therefore, it can be clearly seen that it is wrong for him to be parading himself as the Acting or National Chairman of PDP again. It is even more painful that the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Sheriff in total disregard for PDP’s constitution. This is why we went to thd Supreme Court. Each organization has its set of rules and regulations and members must conform with such rules. In Sheriff’s case, he breached PDP’s constitution.
The moment Sheriff took the form, filled and returned the form indicating his intention to contest for the post of PDP national chairman, that
means he has ceased to be Acting Chairman of PDP  because you can’t be the judge and the jury  in your own case at the same time.

What made Sheriff to get   angry at the Port-Harcourt   convention was that he was told that the position of the party’s National Chairman would be rotated to the South while the party’s presidential candidate for 2019 presidential election was to come from the North. The decisions were taken because of the rotational system in PDP. The last PDP presidential candidate who later emerged as the President, Dr Gooluck Jonathan is from the South, which invariably means that the party’s presidential candidate must this time around be from the North, while the National Chairman who is from the North must now come from the South. When he heard this, Sheriff became angry and later stormed out of the convention. That was how the issue of the caretaker committee that was set up came about. We thought the committee would be able to resolve areas of disagreement among members within three months but this was made impossible as a result of various court cases that later came up. We would have had a successful convention but Sheriff went to court.

In the constitution of the party, if you take the party to court without following the due process, it is punishable by expulsion but because there is a limit to the power of the caretaker committee, they couldn’t do much. But I   still strongly believe that Markarfi group will get justice at the Supreme Court.
We believe that the truth and nothing but the truth would be revealed at the Supreme Court.

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Some people are asking, why can’t the feuding parties embrace dialogue since both factions [Markarfi and Sheriff groups] are claiming to  be working in the interest of  PDP?

Sheriff is not my enemy, he is my friend, he has called me, and  we would continue to talk but let the truth be known, we want the whole world to know the truth about the crisis. This is why we went to Supreme Court.

We are not averse to dialogue, but with that Court of Appeal judgement , we feel we need  to fight the injustice. We feel the whole truth should be known about who had erred between the two factions, and we believe that the Supreme Court is in the best position to adjudicate on the issue. Since the   matter is before the apex court, let’s all persevere and wait for   the court’s pronouncement on the issue.

Do you see some forces trying to destroy PDP?

That is what we are saying, like I said before, you can see the voice of Jacob but the hand of Esau in PDP crisis. I can see some elements bent on wreaking havoc on PDP using some people to destabilize the party. If you see a bush rat dancing in the middle of the road, it means its drummers are in the bush. For me, let us go to those that will dispense justice with the fear of the Lord and in accordance with our constitution and the survival of democracy in our country. This is what led to the Supreme Court option. Let
us exercise patience, the Supreme Court cannot afford to delay because the world is watching us. I believe they will expedite action on it.

How would you react to the statement made by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that PDP’s fortunes sank when he and a former National Chairman  of the party, Col. Ahmadu Alli left the party?

Obasanjo is entitled to his own views but I think his expression is a reflection of his wish for PDP. We however, thank God that there are other eminent elder statesmen in the country that  are  not only praying for PDP to come out of the crisis stronger, but  are also working round the clock to  ensure that the party bounces back in a big way. We thank God for the roles being played by elders like Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, Dr Alex Ekwueme and others. No individual should play God or gloat over others’ challenges. PDP will survive the present tribulations no matter the evil  some people  wished the party. Their evil wish will not come to fruition.


Source – The Sun

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