Bode George: Why PDP chair, Ayu must resign

Bode George, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says it is an “insult” to the south for the party’s chairman and presidential candidate to be from the same region.

Speaking on Thursday at a media conference in Lagos, George said Iyorchia Ayu, PDP national chairman, should resign as he promised before the party’s presidential primary.

There have been calls for Ayu to resign to make way for a southerner to occupy the position.

The call for Ayu’s resignation is said to be on the grounds that the national chairman and the presidential candidate of the party cannot be from the same region — Ayu is from Benue state in the north-central zone, while Atiku Abubakar, the party’s presidential candidate, is from Adamawa in the north-east.

George, a former deputy chairman of the party, said Ayu promised to resign if the party elects a northerner as its presidential candidate, adding that his refusal will affect the trust Nigerians should have in the PDP.

“Today, we are in a situation in which our national chairman is from the same [region] as our presidential candidate,” he said.

“I remember that Dr Iyorchia Ayu said pointedly that if the presidential candidate emerges from the north, he would resign for a new national chairman to emerge from another [region] before the presidential campaign starts.

“As a result of the need to have inclusiveness, oneness, and togetherness, it does not make any political sense for the presidential candidate and the national chairman to come from the same [region].

“Can we go into the election with alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Dr Iyorchia Ayu from the same [region], leading our national campaign?

“This will be an affront, impunity, and an insult to the electorate and party members from the south.

“Dr Ayu promised openly, before the presidential primary in May, to resign if the presidential candidate emerges from the north. So, why has he refused to honour his words? Why is he reneging? What is driving his reluctance not to resign?

“We are promising Nigerians that when we get to government, every tribe will have a say in government. But now, how do we want Nigerians to trust us when we cannot fulfil a simple promise? Our national chairman pledged and in such a short time, he has broken the pledge.

“Our party members from the south are now asking the following questions patently: Have we thrown our integrity to the dogs? How will southern PDP leaders convince their electorate to vote for our candidate when there is no substantial national position in the southwest? How can we go into the election season with this type of division and expect to win the February 25 presidential election?

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

“What is happening now is that many southerners are feeling alienated, two weeks to the commencement of the presidential campaign.”

George said the resignation of Walid Jibrin as the chairman of the PDP board of trustees (BoT) will not stop the demand for Ayu to step down.

“Let me declare categorically that the positions of presidential candidate and national chairman cannot come from the same [region],” he added.

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