Former deputy national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (South), Chief Bode George, yesterday, described as shocking and unfortunate ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo’s damning verdict that the party is “sunk and gone”.
Reacting to the statement in a telephone interview with Sunday Sun, George said: “I am really shocked that such a statement would come from Baba. If that is his wish to us, it is unfortunate. That is his personal interpretation of what is going on.” Obasanjo had said in a chat with newsmen in Abeokuta during a symposium held to mark his birthday that his exit from the party along Ahmadu Ali marked the end of the glorious era of the then ruling PDP. “Ahmadu Ali is truthful and that was why I brought him to head the PDP and all went well when Ahmadu Ali was the national chairman. We were controlling 30 out of the 36 states. When Ahmadu and I left, the fortunes of the PDP began to sink. Whether you believe it or not, today’s PDP is sunk and gone. May the fortunes of Nigeria never sink like that of the PDP,” he said.
Dismissing Obasanjo’s cynical comment, George said with the commitment of other founding fathers, the PDP would come out of the current crisis stronger than ever before. “There are still respectable founding fathers. Baba Ciroma is still alive, Dr Alex Ekwueme is still alive, Sule Lamindo is still alive, Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Prof Jerry Gana and other foundation members of the party are still alive. For me, there is nothing to fear. We have made some terrible mistakes in the past, we have learnt from the mistakes and we are going to make sure that we tread the path of honour, justice, and equity. And we are not going to fail. We are going to grow bigger than during his time,” he assured.
According to him, disagreement is part of the dynamics of politics, but dedication of all stakeholders would see that party through its current challenge. His words: “You don’t expect a party as big as PDP not to have hiccups. But to think this would be the end of the party is very unfortunate.
We believe that this party will survive. We are going to work assiduously to make sure it survives because if the PDP doesn’t survive, the end of democracy is assured. We have a very strong tap root in our party.”
“As far as I am concerned, that is not the wish of God almighty. With commitment and dedication of foundation leaders of the party, we will survive the current crisis. We will survive because that is the only party in this country that is absolutely nationalistic. In fact, that comment is going to give us a much deeper drive to achieve our objectives. I don’t share in his view and I believe we will survive by the grace of God,” he added.
On the stalemate over the leadership crisis between Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee of the PDP and acting National Chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, George said only the national convention could compel Makarfi to step down. “Makarfi stands on the constitution. He didn’t just bring himself in and pronounced himself as the chairman. It was the national convention which is the Supreme body of that party that put him there. You can’t just come from nowhere and say both of them should step down. It is completely apolitical. We are going to go to the Supreme Court to interpret the Appeal Court’s ruling. It is only another convention of the party that can remove Makarfi,” he concluded.