Chief Olabode George, a former deputy national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has cautioned that the opposition party may lose the presidential election next year due to crisis.
He claimed that the outcome of the platform in the polls for 2023 will depend on how the lengthy leadership crisis is addressed.
If the national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, does not step down, George warned that the PDP may become polarized and split into the Northern Peoples Democratic Party (NPDP) and Southern Peoples Democratic Party (SPDP).
Let me state unequivocally that a national chairman and a presidential contender cannot be from the same region, he remarked.
Naval Commodore George discussed the effects of the party's exclusion and inequality tactics with reporters in Lagos.
The party senior, who was present with his wife Rolly, Senator Kofoworola Akerele-Bucknor, and other party leaders, encouraged Ayu to keep his word and step down if the North presented itself as the preferred choice for president.
He complained that because the candidate, the chairman, and the campaign director are from the North, the PDP had broken the inclusivity ideal.
According to George, it would be ideal for the Southwest to hold the role of national chairman in order to foster a sense of inclusion, belonging, equity, and justice in the area.
The party senior claims that PDP is in “clear and present danger,” which could close the window of chance for victory.
He claimed that the party's coherence and unity are being sacrificed to maintain misguided personal interests.
He said, “We shouldn't let any sentiment, whether it is racial or religious, divide us. Unfortunately, given what we are seeing right now, if we continue to ignore or fail to address the sense of “alienation” and complaints being felt by the entire Southern population of this great country, our party may lose the next presidential election. We cannot count on their support if this issue is ignored.
“We should be seen to champion good causes rather than racial agendas. In this nation, ethnic groups are on the verge of disintegrating. Nigerians are waiting for us to improve the situation because it has never been this terrible before.
“The PDP is vulnerable to disaster in the 2023 elections until this party returns to the founding fathers' principles of unity, with equity, fairness, and justice serving as the foundation for any political decision taken in this party; and ensuring broadmindedness to accommodate the concerns of all zones in this country. If we don't come together in harmony, equity, fairness, and justice, our party might disintegrate before 2023.
“In the sake of peace and party unity, we disregarded the principle of rotation as outlined in our party's charter when electing HE. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as our presidential candidate in May of this year. Right now, our presidential candidate and our national chairman are both from the same zone.
“Some people are adamant that there is nothing wrong with the situation as it is right now. According to some, this occurred when Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was president because the candidate and the national chairman were both from the same zone.
“To tell the truth, the situation back then and now differs noticeably. The party's leader at the time, a president who was in office, was from the South, while the candidate was from the North.
“In addition, Dr. Ahmadu Ali, the National Chairman, was leaving at that time. That argument is invalid because our party does not now have a President in Aso Villa. We must quit acting like zombies and playing games.