[BREAKING] Ayu: South must produce PDP chairman – George

A former deputy national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Olabode George, has called for the resignation of the party’s national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, while advocating for the position of a Southerner.

According to George, the current arrangement in the party holding the presidential and national presidential positions by persons from the north cannot continue.

Speaking at a press conference in Lagos on Thursday, George said Ayu’s refusal to resign is a message to members of the PDP in the South that they don’t matter.

He said: “In May this year, we elected our presidential candidate in the person of HE Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, overriding the rotation principle, as enshrined in our party’s constitution, in the interest of peace and unity of our party Today we are in a situation where our national president is from the same zone as our presidential candidate.

“Some people argue that there is nothing wrong with this current arrangement. Some have argued that this happened during Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s reign, where the candidate and the national president were from the same zone.

“Let the truth be told, there are notable differences in the scenario then and now. Then we had the leader of the party who was then a sitting president from the South and the candidate from the North.

“In addition, the National President, Dr Ahmadu Ali, was on his way out. Today we do not have a sitting chairman of our party in Aso Villa, so that argument ends. We need to stop playing games and zombifying.

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“Let me summarize the genesis of the current crisis.

“As envisioned by the founding fathers of our party, there are six top positions in our country: President, Vice President, Senate Speaker, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Secretary of the Government of the Federation (SGF) and National Party Chairman.

“Currently, we are not in government, so we only control three of these six positions, namely: presidential, vice presidential candidates and national president.

“I remember Dr. Iyorchia Ayu emphatically said that if the presidential candidate comes from the north, he would step down for a new national president who would come from another zone before the presidential campaign begins.

“The other three positions are futuristic. Only when we win the elections will we fulfill these functions, which are: the president of the senate, the president and the secretary of the federal government.

“Due to the need to have inclusiveness, unity and togetherness, there is no political sense whatsoever for the presidential candidate and the national president to be from the same zone. Now we have a situation where some elders say “it doesn’t matter”. Can we enter the elections with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, from the same zone, leading our National Campaign?

“This will be an insult, an impunity and an insult to voters and party members from the South.

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“Dr. Ayu openly pledged to step down before the presidential election in May if the presidential candidate comes from the north. So why has he refused to honor his words? Why does he distance himself? What drives his reluctance not to resign?

“We promise Nigerians that when we come to government every tribe will have a say in government, but now how do we want Nigerians to trust us if we can’t keep a simple promise? Our National President has made a promise and in such a short time he has broken the promise.

Our party members from the South are now clearly asking the following questions:

“Have we thrown our integrity before the dogs?

“How will Southern PDP leaders convince their voters to vote for our candidate if there is no substantial national foothold in the Southwest?

“How can we go into election season with this kind of division and expect to win the February 25 presidential election?

“Unless we are united, unless we have fairness, justice and fairness in our system, the party and the country will get nowhere.

“I’m not a fortune teller, but I’ve traveled all over the country and learned so much politics. What I predicted above will happen unless reason prevails and we immediately step on the brakes.

“It was the same short-sighted and unpatriotic reasoning that led to the collapse of the First and Second Republics.

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“My intervention is about the future of this country, because what is good for the goose is also good for the goose.”

The PDP chief wondered if the north would remain calm if the positions in question were taken only by southerners.

He said: “Maybe let’s reverse the scenario and think about these consequences. What do you think will happen when our presidential candidate and the national president come from the south? How do you think our northern brothers will feel and handle the situation? What is happening now is that many southerners are feeling alienated two weeks before the start of the presidential campaign.

“I know that the chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) and the chairman of the Governors’ Forum have resigned, but of what significance does this matter? In our party hierarchy, BoT and Governors’ Forum chairmen are not that powerful. They are not even in the top six in our country. They are not important to the current discussion.

“Let me state categorically that the positions of presidential candidate and national chairman cannot come from the same zone. Period of time!”

George added that the vote of confidence supposedly passed over Ayu and the party’s NWC at the National Executive Committee meeting could not stand because most of the southern members of NEC were absent from the meeting.

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