A former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olabode George, says the party shunned its constitution to produce Atiku Abubakar as its presidential candidate.
Speaking on Friday during an appearance on Arise TV, George said Atiku emerged as the party’s standard bearer based on an in-house agreement as opposed to the party’s constitution.
The former Military Governor of Ondo State added that the party stuck religiously to its principle of zoning and allowed the former vice president to contest the presidential primaries.
He said it was surprising that some party members who are advocating for the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, to stay to respect the constitutional provision didn’t speak up when Atiku emerged as the flagbearer.
He said, “On the issue of constitutionality, I referred you to the fact that our party’s constitution explicitly states and I quote: “there will be zoning and rotation of elective offices and party offices” and if we had stuck rigidly to that, there was no chance for Atiku to have emerged as the presidential candidate.
“So, when it suits you, you can refer to the constitution and when it doesn’t suit you, you can back away from the constitution. If we all on moral suasion purpose, and during a family discussion we agreed that look, people have been canvassing, spending money and going round from the last six months and since there was no definitive selection or zoning of whether it should come from the north, south, west or east, let us allow this to go now, the same principle is what will happen for Ayu.
“If we could accept the issue (sideline constitution provision) for a presidential candidate to come from any zone then, which is against what is in our constitution, then what is good for the goose is good for the gander. On this premise (Ayu’s resignation), we can do that again. Allow us for this period to do that because no matter what happens, at the end of the election, whether we win or we don’t win, there will be a convention to revisit the whole thing about these positions.
“They (those backing Ayu’s chairmanship) are making it look as if it is rigidity. We bent the constitution based on moral suasion purposes, justice, and equity to allow all the zones to contest and now when the same issue comes up to allow the south to produce the national chairman, they are now saying no, it will go against the constitution.
“It is true it will go against the constitution. But they forget there was a provision for the zoning of the presidential candidate in the constitution too but we abandoned that for unity and peace, we allowed everyone to contest and if we were able to do that at that time, what is different now?”
This article was originally published on Naija News