- PDP Bigwig, Chief BODE GEORGE, Tells City People
When over a month ago, Chief Bode George announced his decision to run for the national chairmanship of the PDP, there were those who thought at 72, he was too old for the job. They felt the job would be too stressful for him, since age was not on his side that the job be given to a younger person.
“I find that kind of talk very lunatic,” he says “It is absolutely lunatic. It is stupid talk. At 72, there is no slowing down. I don’t feel old. I don’t feel stressed. It’s a game I am used to. Such talk is very cheap. I think it is better I react in Yoruba, Ti Omode Ba Ge Igi Loko Agba Lomo Ibiti O ma Wosi. Translated means, when a child cuts down a tree in the farm, only the elderly knows the direction the tree would fall. The state of the PDP today, requires someone with that depth, you see this grey hair on my head is like a bank account. As you grow old, you store your experiences, your wisdom which you can draw from at the appropriate time. This is the appropriate time. Yorubas have this proverb “Atari Ajanaku Ki Se Eru Omode”. The ship of the state is in a quagmire. It is in a bad sea state and it is in water where you can’t go and bring a bambino to come and rescue the ship. That is a joke, a big one.
“Second, how old is Chief Oyegun, the APC Chairman? Is he in his 20s? How old is Donald Trump? Is he in his 30s? Mrs. Clinton will be 70 this year. Does it have anything to do with age? Do I look like someone who has health challenges?
“Generals don’t retire, they only fade away. I have just very few more years for public exposure. I started when I was 42. I will be 72 tomorrow I have the next 2 years more, actively, to rescue the party and bring the ship of state back to harbour safely and I will bow out. Of course, politically, you will always be alert, but you will not be on the active front burner, like one is doing. My child too is asking me to come back home, if we were still on a cruising level, one would probably have said ok next officer take over. But the way it is, we crashed out, we were lucky we didn’t go totally under.
So, we need that Sky Skipper who will come back and stabilise the platform and then hand it over to a competent hand, who will now run it. I think I have the next 2 years after which I will go home and rest”.
In the last few weeks, he has gone round the states campaigning for delegates to vote for him. How has it been? What are his reflections on the trip?
“First of all, its like a reminder of my time as the 1st National Vice Chairman, Deputy National Chairman (South), and Deputy National Chairman.
“It was a beautiful reminder for me. I met a lot of old friends, a lot of old hands, who remembered the way the party was managed. That further encouraged me, more so that the party itself is going through a metaphosis. It made me know that what the PDP needs at a time like this is a tested captain, an experienced captain, somebody who has seen it all, at this particular point in time. The encouragement all over the states have been absolutely credible.
“There is nothing that could be more gracious. I concluded that it would have been unfair if I didn’t offer to run, if I had headed home because the ultimate measure of a man is not where you stand when things are rosy, and quiet, but where you stand at times of crisis. It has been rewarding just going round this country all over again. It has been very encouraging.”
What makes you think you are the best man for the job of National Chairman of the PDP?
“You know we are now in opposition. We are not in government, so the party must deliberately ensure that the emergence of the new manager of the party must be civilised, fair, just, it must be able to convince the electorate that yes, we are really, honestly and genuinely back and can be trusted to manage the resources of this nation. If we blow it up, if we mismanage the convention, if we do not become fair, generations yet unborn will never forgive us. We were challenged by Pres. Buhari that this nation needs a vibrant opposition. He challenged us and we are still whistling in the dark.
“I have been in this party since 1998. we are going for a carnival like convention.
Its like a family reunion. I have participated in all the conventions of the PDP right from the first one that we did in Jos”.