By Chinelo Obogo
Former national vice chairman (South West) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Bode George, has warned the party against accepting the congress carried out by its former Lagos State chairman, Deji Doherty, saying the court ruling against him may cost the party the poll.
At a news conference, yesterday, he said Lagos State High Court had last year ruled against Doherty and reinstated former caretaker chairman, Adegbola Dominic, as the legitimate chairman.
“It is important to point out that Deji Doherty was removed by a court of competent jurisdiction, therefore any congress he conducts is null and void under the law. It will be better to avoid any of the candidates that emerged from the congress he conducted so that in future, no one will tell you that the election is illegal.”
He also urged the PDP to move its national convention scheduled for May 28 and 29 from Abuja to Lagos given that the All Progressives Congress (APC) would also hold theirs at the same venue on May 30 and 31.
“APC wants to hold their national convention on May 30 and 31 and we are holding ours on May 28 and 29 in Abuja. How is that possible? People would arrive for the PDP convention two or three days before the day and APC delegates would also arrive few days before theirs. This could create confusion which would be disastrous for us.
“Because we want to impact positively in the minds of Nigerians that we are better managers without encumbrances, to move our convention from Abuja to Lagos. Which tribe in Nigeria does not reside in Lagos? If you want to fly or come by water or road, you would get here. There are many hotels, from one star to five star. Holding it in Lagos would completely cut off any plans by the APC to want to scuttle our convention.”
George also said zoning and rotation remain sacrosanct in PDP and remains very important to the party.
He said former managers of the party, when they should have announced zoning to decide whether the presidential candidate should go to either the north or the south, failed to do so, thus throwing up the space for everybody. “Now that we are few weeks to the convention, would it be right for the party to now say this person can contest or this person cannot contest. People have started campaigning, even members of the same family and you cannot rob Peter to pay Paul. How would you tell those who have been spending money and time not to contest because you have zoned it? How would they feel? A divided party would be a defeated party. On this basis, I appeal to everyone to cool their tempers and let us go to the game. I know that this is something that has never happened in our party. On the day of the convention, all the six geo political zones will present presidential aspirants and you can see that we need God’s intervention. We need a man who will put Nigeria before himself and would without fear or favour and irrespective of your religion.”