By Segun James
As the race for the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), resumes, former deputy national chairman of the party, Chief Olabode Ibiyinka George yesterday declared his intention to contest for the national chairmanship position, saying that he was the only one among all the aspirants that had the experience and wisdom to rescue and position the party to regain power in 2019.
Speaking at the City Hall, Lagos, where he made the declaration, George said his first task, if elected, would be to reconcile the feuding factions within the party while also according party officials at all levels the recognitions they deserved while also protecting their interests.
“I have learned the ropes and I have been guided by the collective wisdom of our leaders across our great nation. I fully understand the precepts, the mechanisms and the constitution of our party
“I know the tradition, the culture, the guiding ethos and the normative patterns that our leaders have built and nurtured for so many years. If elected, I am willing and ready to work with everyone regardless of personal differences to mend the broken places, to heal the ancient wounds, to reconcile the feuding factions and ultimately ensure that we strengthen our collective brotherhood and speak with one voice to regain victory in 2019.
“I will never compromise our foundational principles of justice, fairness and equity as enshrined in the constitution of our party. We will equally accord all our governors; and legislators at both state and national levels the necessary pride of place and honour in this new dawn. We will protect their interests and help to enhance their effectiveness.
“If I am given the privilege to serve, I will never play the role of an overlord. I will serve with dignity and diligence. I will respect the mighty and the low without discrimination. Together, we will remove impunity. Together, we will restore discipline and fair play. We will always insist on internal democracy.
He said he would work tirelessly to revive the dream and principles of the PDP founding fathers anchored on justice, fairness and equity as enshrined in the constitution of the party.
George stressed that as the PDP National Chairman, he would bring back the dignity of PDP by working diligently to unite members while mending fences and healing old wounds for all to attain the collective aspiration of the once ruling party, adding that the PDP under his leadership will strive to revive the economy of Nigeria which had been battered, working with well-meaning members of the party to get the presidential power in 2019.
He said having actively served at the topmost echelon of PDP for 10 years, working with the most experience members, his loyalty to the party had never been in doubt, reason members should repose confidence in him to serve well as their National Chairman.
George thanked the Chairman, Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi and members of the Caretaker Committee of the PDP on what he described as their commitment, loyalty and their ability to pull the party from the brink of collapse. The Caretaker Committee, he said had done a great work over the past one year.
He also commended stakeholders of PDP on their resolve to zone the Chairmanship position to the south-west, describing the zoning arrangement as a veritable tool for stabilising the PDP.
Bode George had served as Zonal Vice Chairman south-west, Deputy National Chairman South and Deputy National Chairman overall, the second highest position in PDP, while he had also helped to resolve crises within the party in all geo-political zones of the federation.
PDP members who graced the formal declaration of Chief Bode George include, Former Minister, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, former Deputy Governor, Lagos state, Senator Kofoworola Bucknor Akerele, former Minister of Communications, Chief Dapo Sarumi, Former Minister of Special Duties, Elder Wole Oyelese, former PDP Chairman Ogun State, Chief Joju Fadairo, Former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Erelu Olusola Obada, National Vice Chairman PDP, Dr. Eddy Olafeso, former PDP Chairman, Lagos State, Captain Tunji Shelle, former Interim National Chairman PDP, Chief Ishola Filani, all Exco members of PDP in Lagos State.
Others include, Hon Tajudeen Obasa, Chief Kehinde Kuku, Chief Tajudeen Oladipo, Mr. Seyi Makinde, governorship aspirant, Oyo State, former Deputy Governor, Oyo State, Chief Azeem Gbolarumi, Aremo Femi Adetola, Chief Remi Akintoye Hon Oladele Bankole Balogun and PDP leaders from South-East, South South and the North.