- Use Dec 9 convention to regain trust of Nigerians, Dickson tells party
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
A former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and one of the chairmanship aspirants, Chief Bode George, has asked the Chairman of the party’s National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, to step aside.
George said the move has become necessary because of the increasing evidence of clash of interest over the choice of the next chairman of the party at the forthcoming national convention.
In a statement issued yesterday evening by the Director General, Bode George Campaign Organisation, Alhaji Ibrahim K. Aliu, the PDP chieftain alleged that Makarfi was brazenly allying with a particular aspirant in the South-south zone.
“For the sake of propriety, for the sake of all that is good and meaningful, for the sake of equitable balance and moral appropriateness, we strongly advise Makarfi to resign his position forthwith because he has been severely compromised.
“He can no longer play the role of a neutral arbiter who stands far above the fray. He is already tarred and soiled in the muddy waters of partisan prejudice,” he said.
George said it was increasingly disturbing and rather untidy the role Makarfi is presently playing in the processes towards the party national convention on December 9.
George said Makarfi’s action, “to put it mildly, is sickening, untoward, blatantly tendentious, totally stripped of the typical moral high ground that often defines a well meaning, God-fearing arbitrating leadership.
“Apparently spurred by personal ambition of contesting for the presidential office in 2019, Makarfi is brazenly allying with a particular aspirant in the South-south to deliberately distort the process, muddle equity and invariably destroy the democratic process for transient personal gains,” he said.
“Everywhere you look, Makarfi is planting the agents of his favourite South-south candidate to stage-manage warped and skewed congresses in an undisguised mockery of all the normative patterns of our founding fathers whose enduring forte about equity, justice and fairness is now being flung into the gutter.
“In a way, Makarfi has evidently resolved to repeat the farcical malady that characterised the debacle in Port Harcourt last year.
“We have equally resolved that we will not be led along this ruinous path again. Never! Makarfi should now do the most honorable thing by walking away and face his ambition squarely. He cannot use a privileged non-elective position to wangle undue advantages to his own side. It is patently unacceptable.
“We need to redeem our party by being faithful to the great ideals of our founding fathers. We really believe that elders of the party across the nation should summon an emergency summit to deliberate on the right way to restrategise our party and rectify the wrongs on the ground.
“All the elders across the zones must take it as a priority that this party can only be redeemed and restore to its winning ways when we are all sincere, genuine, and anchored on the path of salvaging righteousness,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, while receiving George yesterday, called on leaders and stakeholders of the (PDP) to see the forthcoming convention in Abuja on December 9 as critical to the survival of the party.
George had led some of his supporters on a courtesy visit to Government House, Yenagoa.
The governor expressed the fear that,the window of opportunity to reorganise the PDP to enable it confront the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019 is fast closing and prayed that, the convention would be used to regain the trust of Nigerians.
“I have taken certain positions in terms of what is right for the party, in terms of how best to conduct ourselves, and how fast we need to move away from the mindset of the old to new ways of conducting party business and affairs,” he said.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Francis Ottah Agbo, said Dickson, who used the occasion to congratulate George on his 72nd birthday, thanked him for offering to serve the party, noting that he has the capacity, experience and other requisite qualities to contest for the PDP national chairmanship position.
He noted that the crisis that engulfed the PDP was needless.
He urged party leaders to be tolerant, patriotic and put aside their personal differences, not only in the overall interest of the party, but also to strengthen the country’s democracy.
The governor also called for understanding among the aspirants and prayed for the conduct of a peaceful, free, and credible convention, which outcome should be acceptable to all, stressing the need for all to work together to get the processes right.
Earlier, George had explained that he was in the state to solicit the support of the governor, as well as the state’s delegates to the December 9 convention in Abuja.
He said: “I am here because the PDP is heading very soon to elect new managers to pilot the affairs of our great party and we need an experienced, tested captain to take the ship of our party safely back to harbour”
According to George, there is need for the party to revisit the experiences of the past and study them with a view to avoiding the mistakes that led to the defeat of the party in the last general election.
He also called on those who had dumped the PDP to return to the party. “Those of our friends who have moved to other parties, now know they are tenants, let them come home and become landlords,” he stressed.
The PDP national chairmanship aspirant prayed God to continually bless the governor with strength and wisdom to pilot the affairs of the state as well as complete his numerous development programmes to better the lot of the people.