Bode George: Renewed Rivalries between Minority, Majority Ethnic Groups Can Derail Nigeria
*Warns PDP against undermining interest of the south
A former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George, at the weekend, warned that the renewed rivalries between minority and majority ethnic groups in the main opposition party could utterly derail Nigeria as it did during the First Republic.
George has also warned the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) against undermining the interest of the South, pointing out that no section of the federation “can win the next presidential poll without substantial input from the other.”
He gave the warning in an interview with THISDAY while lamenting how unnecessary tribal sentiments had stoked the renewed rivalries between the PDP leaders from minority and ethnic majority groups.
Since former Vice President Atiku Abubakar emerged as the PDP presidential candidate on May 28, the main opposition party has been plunged into deeper internal crises due to the hijacking of the top positions by northern party members.
During the interview, George blamed the present managers of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the deepening internal crisis that plagued the main opposition party, claiming that they exacerbated the mistrust in the rank of the PDP.
He said: “This is an unnecessary tribal sentiment. The claims – we have the number; we can do whatever we want and nobody can challenge us – are getting us back to the majority versus minority contention both in the north and south.
“This is the issue that created the friction that disrupted the First Republic. Our founding fathers found solutions to it. They divided Nigeria into six geo-political zones. There are also six top political offices in the federation. Every geo-political zone must go home with one of those top political positions.
“If we are driving back to those days of the majority versus minority, it will not help this country. It has never helped us and it will never help us in the future. We must avoid it like a leech. People are angry. Now, the insecurity in the country has exacerbated that friction.”
He, therefore, warned the national leaders of the PDP against undermining the interests of the south, noting that the southern leaders “are simply demanding a sense of belonging or inclusion in the top hierarch of the main opposition party.”
He observed: “Nobody can win an election without substantial input from the North or the South. Do we really want to return to the Villa in 2023? If we want to return to the Villa, you need votes from the South to win.
“Can the North alone win an election to the villa without the South? Put differently, can the South alone win an election to the villa without the North? We must break that barrier. We must reunite ourselves as the founding fathers did,” George challenged the national leaders to put their differences aside to save the PDP from a deeper crisis.
George also urged the national leaders not to throw into the debris of history, the lessons they learnt from the ways the founding fathers of the party had managed the political fallout of the country.
Before convening the next meeting of its National Executive Committee (NEC), George canvassed deeper consultation “to resolve the internal crisis that threatens the future of the PDP.
Whatever decision will be made at the NEC meeting will be all-encompassing.
“The need for deeper consultation is necessary. I think the managers have been hearing the cacophony of voices from all corners of the country and the six geo-political zones of the federation.
“The most contentious issue is inclusivity. How do we have that sense of belonging? How do we have this commitment? How will our people feel to encourage them to troop out in millions to deliver the voices of our party?”