PDP chairmanship: The ship of our party requires a tested captain –Bode George
One of the contestants for the office of National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Bode George, speaks on his expectations and why he demanded the resignation of the Chairman, National Caretaker Committee, Ahmed Makarfi
How is the campaign going and what feedback did you get from your interaction with delegates across the country?
It is going well. The party is trying to manage everything. Of course, there is no perfect organisation anywhere. There has been a cacophony of voices — disagreements here and there — and that is why we have managers of the party in place. I believe that the managers of the party are up to the task. Unfortunately, we just have a few members of the National Caretaker Committee of the party as against 18 we used to have in the National Working Committee. So, they have a lot of work to do.
Concerning my interaction with the delegates, it has been rewarding and revealing. I have been across the country and it is very refreshing for me, and like I said, very rewarding. It has also shown me that the PDP, which many thought had died, is very much alive. I thank God for the opportunity and the rare privilege to go round the country twice.
With what you have seen so far, do you think the party will have a successful convention?
I’m hoping that they are dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s now. The caretaker committee members know that the whole world is watching. Even Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari, has challenged our party that he wants a vibrant opposition. So, with that at the back of our minds, everybody must do what is just, what is right for us to get things right so that everybody that trusts us will know that we can manage the resources of this country for the betterment of the people of Nigeria.
You once called for the resignation of the chairman of the caretaker committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi. Do you still want him out of office?
What I said then was that if it was true that he wants to contest the 2019 presidential election as being speculated, he needs to resign. This was the thing we got in the course of our campaign across the country. There were things that were going on that were not clear. It will not be right for him (Makarfi) to contest on moral grounds; he should not be part of those that would midwife the managers of the party. That is all that I said. You cannot be a judge and be a jury in your own case. That does not mean that we are quarrelling; it was a suggestion. I want him to stand on a higher pedestal. I spoke not as a contestant, but as a member of the Board of Trustees. He must be above board. It is not moral; it is not right and I’m happy he has denied that speculation, saying he is not contesting (for 2019 presidency).
If he eventually decides to contest the Presidency in 2019 on the platform of the PDP, will you be disappointed?
Personally, I will be disappointed because he is my very good friend and brother. The advice I gave him is what I can give a brother. If he decides to contest, that will impact on other contestants. I have a lot of respect for him and that is why I advised him that way. The advice was purely on moral ground.
Do you consider anyone out of the other seven contestants as a threat to your ambition?
No, I don’t consider anyone as a threat. But the point is this: I want to liken it to a ship with a distress call. Who will you send to rescue the passengers and the ship? At this particular time, would you send a bambino or would you send someone who has never been on that kind of platform to manage massive organisation like this, to go and rescue the passengers? What I’m saying is that you need an experienced hand to rescue this party. I’m one of those who have managed the party successfully. I had been a manager of the party before. I had been National Vice-Chairman and Deputy National Chairman, South. I had been Deputy National Chairman for the whole country, and I had been a director-general of a national presidential campaign. It is an experience you don’t buy off. You have to go through the mill to get these experiences. It is like someone who just graduated from the university and wants to be the managing director of a newspaper house. Such a person will fail. The ship of our party requires a tested captain, who will not compromise. What we need at this time is to show that we can win the hearts of Nigerians. We will not compromise on anything. People have been saying some people contributed a lot in cash and all that. PDP is not a private enterprise. We need somebody who will respect all organs of the party, who will do what is right and what is just.Punch