A former deputy national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Chief Olabode George, has urged a southern candidate to replace Iyorchia Ayu as the party’s national chairman before the start of the 2023 election campaigns scheduled for September 28, 2022.
He said Ayu, who is from the north of the country, cannot continue to hold the position because the party’s presidential candidate is from the north.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos on Thursday, George said Ayu’s refusal to keep his promise meant members of the party in the south were not important.
He said: “Let me reiterate that the will of the people must be respected and the top six offices in the country must be distributed fairly and fairly, because PDP is not a private company. The office of the national president must come south before we start the presidential campaign if we are to win the next general election.
“In May this year, we elected our presidential candidate in the person of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, overriding the rotation principle enshrined in our party’s constitution in the interest of peace and unity of our party. Today we find ourselves in a situation where our national president comes 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.
Meanwhile, the founding chairman of the Social Democratic Party, chief Olu Falae, and a former liaison officer of ex-president Shehu Shagari, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, stated on Thursday that there would be no manipulation in the 2023 general election.
They therefore called on politicians to go to the grassroots and campaign.
The elder statesmen stated this when the SDP National Secretariat in Abuja was inaugurated.
Falae, 84, who spoke after cutting the tape of the new office, said that when they decided to revive the SDP, some people thought it would be impossible, but they did it without trial.
He said: “We have a good presidential candidate in the person of Adewole Adebayo who showed not only the knowledge of the law, but also history, anthropology, architecture and other fields.”
“The party may not have a governor today, may not be in Aso Rock, but the SDP will get there. Nigeria is in crisis today. You can’t move without being kidnapped. I was kidnapped for four days in my own farm.
“I traveled to Lagos on foot as a young man without being kidnapped. But when I was 77, I was kidnapped. The controlling government is not a controlling party. Ask the parties what their philosophy is, they don’t know. They don’t have a plan, that’s why it only gets worse.
“The SDP is the only party that can restructure and revitalize Nigeria. More people will leave the country if things are not put right. More and more doctors are leaving.
“Politics is about numbers. Bring people to the party and surprise the so-called party, because no one will manipulate the elections.
“We have a good chance of redeeming Nigeria and helping Nigeria in a disaster. You have the opportunity to supply Nigeria.”
Also, Yakassai, represented by SDP Adamawa state governor candidate, Dr. Umar Ardo,
said the SDP should go to the grassroots and campaign, adding that with the new 2022 election law, no one will be able to manipulate the election.
He said the Electoral Act made it impossible for anyone to manipulate the election.
“The 2022 electoral law is an opportunity for the SDP to make a mark as the room for manipulation and the allocation of votes has been addressed.
“What is done at the ballot box is made public and made known to the public. Don’t worry you don’t have governors. Go talk to the grassroots because they are tired of APC and PDP, they are looking for alternatives,” said Yakasai.
The SDP’s presidential candidate Prince Adewole Adebayo said that what SDP brings to Nigerians is simply the white horse signifying victory and prosperity.
He said: “Because poverty is wicked and unnatural. If we don’t fight poverty, it will produce children and that is insecurity.
We are back, 30 years later, to open this office to truth, justice and farewell to poverty.
“If you want to know if I will be a better president, I have chosen SDP as a platform and not as a money bag for political parties. I chose a youth banker, Yusuf Salisu Buhari, as my running mate.
“The SDP has the youngster as the national chairman and I tell the Nigerians that the opportunity you have been looking for is here.
“We will go to all 774 LGAs and departments and bring victory to Nigerians where Nigerians will have decent medical care, security and education.”
SDP National Chairman Alhaji Shehu Musa Gabam, while delivering his message of goodwill, advised the party to go conquering since its founding during his reign.
“I am happy, because one of the established parties is still alive. Keep hope alive, you can navigate through it and make change.
“I don’t see any side beating the SDP. The array of our governor candidates who have previously run in elections is overwhelming. If you name one, people know them and they will win in SDP. SDP assists you.
“We do not admit defeat. There is no defeat in our dictionary. We started from a very difficult environment. Let us all forget our sentimental problems if we really want to save Nigeria.”
A former education minister, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, said that weak institutions spread insecurity that sends people in the face.
“Our situation, as can be seen, required great efforts. That’s why today we have a lot of people who are not members of the SDP, but who want to make things right,” he said.
“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.
He added: “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.
“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 President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Secretary of the Government of the Federation 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 saying 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 starts.
“The other three positions are futuristic. Only when we win the elections will we fulfill these functions, namely: the Senate President, the President and the Secretary of the Federal Government.”