By Segun James
Following the ongoing disagreement in the South-west over the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George, has said if the leadership of the party jettisons the agreed leadership sharing formula as agreed by the founding fathers of the party, then the South-west must be guaranteed the presidential ticket of the party in the spirit of equity and fair play.
George in an interview with select journalists at the weekend, made it clear that even though the party, in line with the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, had agreed that the presidential ticket of the party should move to the North in 2019 while the chairmanship moves South, but if the North insists on retaining the chairmanship at next month’s PDP convention scheduled for Port Harcourt, then it would only be fair that the presidential ticket should move to the South as enshrined in the party’s constitution.
George lamented that anything to the contrary would not be acceptable to the South-west which is already feeling alienated with the way of things in the party.
This is coming just as another leader from the South-west, Dr. Doyin Okupe, has warned that “many of us from the South-west may have to reconsider our membership of this great party” if the geo-political zone is disregard in the leadership equation within the party.
Okupe, while supporting the leader’s position, cried that the people who went to the party headquarters to say that the South-west is not interested in the party’s leadership are “political charlatans” whose position must be ignored.
“There is an embarrassing falsehood being propagated by political charlatans from the South-west and some influential collaborators in the top echelon of the PDP.
“The seed of this misrepresentation was sewed by a group of political clowns and court jesters under the leadership of Senator Buruji Kashamu, a political impostor who claims he is the leader of the party and the Yoruba in the South-west.”
While reiterating the position of Chief George as the leader of the party in the geo-political zone, Okupe insisted that at a “meeting the true sons and daughters of Yoruba land in an unprecedented unity condemned the erstwhile claim by the Yoruba traitors who went and lied to the PDP chairman, His Excellency Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, that the Yoruba do not want the chairmanship of the PDP. I want to state categorically here, without any fear of equivocation, that we, the Yoruba from the South-west, desire and demand the post of the national chairman at the next convention of the party.”
Chronicling the history of the leadership of the party from inception, Okupe lamented that only the Yorubas have never led the party, hence must be given their due this time around.
“The following are the past chairmen: Chief Solomon Lar, Chief Barnabas Gemade, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Prince Vincent Ogbolafor, Dr. Nwodo, Alhaji Baraje, Dr. Haliru Bello (Acting), Alhadji Bamangar Tukur, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, Prince Secondus (Acting) and Senator Ali Sheriff.
“From the above within the last 18years there have been 11 chairmen from five geopolitical zones. Only the Yoruba race from the South-west has been precluded from this exalted office.
“In the interest of fairness, equity and Justice, it is most compelling that the Yoruba of the South-west zone must be allowed to contest for this post at this coming National convention. Any attempt to do anything to the contrary, no matter the reason advanced cannot be acceptable.
“Failure for a Yoruba man to emerge as the national chairman can only mean two things: That there is a pervasive and concealed hatred for the South-west in the PDP or that the PDP has very little or no regard for Yoruba interest as was evinced by the obvious cheating of the South-west from the position of the Speaker (of the House of Representatives) in 2011, which was never rectified nor compensated for the whole of four years.
“The sad implication of the above is that, regrettably, many of us from the South-west may have to reconsider our membership of this great party we have helped to nurture and support through thick and thin, a party we have loved almost more than our very existence, and the party we have served with all our natural endowment, in victory and defeat.
“If there exist any conscience, anywhere in this party, let that conscience speak now and stop the new and alien conscienceless power currently holding sway within the party hierarchy.”