Bode George charges Wike, Atiku to address grievances and achieve victory in 2023
• Says individual interest subservient to party interest
• Urges FG to gets serious on security, employ modern technology
Former Deputy National Vice Chairman (Southwest) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Bode George, has urged Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and Presidential Candidate of the party, Atiku Abubakar, to sheath their swords for the good of the party in the 2023 general election.
George, who lamented the poor economy and insecurity in the country, noted that it was time the PDP chased the All Progressives Congress (APC) out of power, noting that this can only be done by a united house.
George, who spoke at his residence in Ikoyi, Lagos, condemned what he described as arrogance, name-callings and innuendos between the two (Atiku and Wike) and their supporters.
George told Wike to emulate him, by making sacrifices for the party, saying, though he aspired to serve as national chairman, he had to bury the ambition when it was not zoned to the Southwest, contrary to the expectation of party faithful in the region.
He urged the National Chairman of the party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, to honour his promise to resign if the presidential candidate is picked from the North.
The elder statesman said the emergence of the chairman and flag bearer from one zone has violated the principle of inclusivity.
George maintained that Ayu, who has continued to function as chairman after Atiku became candidate, has upset some chieftains from the South.
George recalled that the PDP founding fathers had promised the distribution of six core positions among the six zones to foster equity and unity.
He listed the positions as president, vice president, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Senate President, House of Representatives Speaker and National Chairman.
In his view, their proposal heralded the culture of zoning and rotation in a bid to give the six regions a sense of inclusion and belonging.
George also noted the sentiment in the South over the likelihood of a successor to President Muhammadu Buhari from the North in 2023, lamenting that PDP never anticipated the scenario.
He explained that while party positions were being zoned initially, the party permitted the entry of aspirants from the South and North into the contest for presidential ticket.
“When the chairman was zoned to the North, they should have zoned the presidential slot to the South. I said with what APC has done to Nigeria, zoning is now more important than in 1999,” he said.
However, George called for dialogue and peace in the party, saying that the warring chieftains should calm down.
He urged Wike to maintain an abiding interest and fidelity to the PDP, stressing that it is still the best in terms of national outlook, format and reputation.
George said politicians should bear in mind that “in politics, you win some, you lose some.”
The former Deputy Chairman also advised Atiku not to relent in continuous consultations and reconciliation because it is in his interest and the collective interest of the party.
Lamenting the state of insecurity in the country, George called on government to engage the use of technology to stop it.
He also called on the National Security Adviser (NSA) to resign. He wondered how candidates and political parties could campaign round the country during the electioneering in an atmosphere of insecurity.
George said it was shameful and worrisome that terrorists attacked the Brigade of Guards and set free prisoners from correctional centres and no arrest was made. He added that it wouldn’t be necessary for the Senate to impeach the President, saying the things bedeviling the country should be used to campaign against the APC in 2023.
The former National Vice Chairman of the PDP urged party members to close rank, saying that their interest is of more importance than the individual’s, noting that even though Wike is aggrieved, he isn’t sure he would decamp to the APC.
He said: “I have seen the disagreement and anger on all sides but I want to plead as an elder that the elders of the party must rise to the occasion to tell all sides to cool down. The concept that established the party is very difficult to change but let’s learn from our mistakes. I haven’t left the party because I believe that everything works for a purpose.
“If you lose on one side, you don’t need to bring down the roof and also the winner must be gracious in victory. The goal is to win the 2023 election. The APC is a congregation of strange fellows and Nigerians are tired of them already.
“If we don’t get it right this time, the nation will never forgive us. Let’s rise above personal interest. Nigerians are angry and they want to know how you will boost the economy. Armageddon is hovering over the country and it’s ready to descend. In PDP, we have people with experience, everyone is important and that is why we must work to achieve our goal.
“We must regard and respect everyone because the aim is the most important thing. Nigeria is in a dire state of utter confusion. Government decimates security, which is the number one job of good governance. That is an acceptance of complete failure. What is the chief of army staff still doing in office, it’s more honorable for him to bow out.”