By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent
The former Deputy National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Olabode George turned a clergy when he visited Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State Tuesday in Calabar over his ambition to head the party at the national level ahead of the December 9, 2017 national convention.
His visit came less than an hour after that of Professor Tunde Adeniran whom had visited with Professor Jerry Gana with Mr. George commending Mr. Ayade for stabilizing the party in the state during the crisis that rocked it across the nation.
“We are here because of our family, the PDP family and I must congratulate you, your deputy governor and the good people of Cross River State because there was a political tsunami that swept across the country but Cross River survived it. And I want to thank them because if you thank somebody for giving you an honor, you will get more in the future,” George said.
On the current state of the party, Mr. George turned spiritual and queried: “Are we leaving out of the quagmire? Not yet. But God is wisdom because he is a God of justice and fairness… if we put the fear of God in our minds, we will get back to Aso Rock.”
He added that: “We learnt a lesson, who is there in life that does not go into the valley once in a while? The highway of life goes into the trough one in a while. But the beauty of it is with the fear of God in you, and your honesty of purpose, you will rise up again. This party, the sun will shine, this party the sky will be blue again.”
Mr. George who said God was “a God of second chance,” pointed out that getting back the central government was not farfetched as: “We survived the other, all these unnecessary judicial rascality I will call them. The Supreme Court listened attentively and gave the right judgment.”
Furthermore, he averred that: “Get any Nigerian between Sokoto and Calabar or between Borno state and Lagos state, or between Jigawa and Delta, any Nigerian; Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba, Ijaw, Delta, Efik, whatever, ask them; are you better today than before?
“So, Nigerians are waiting for us, our party. And, the President himself challenged our mindset and said recently that Nigerians will want a vibrant opposition. If we want a vibrant opposition, what are we waiting for? We have a lot ahead of us. We must win back the hearts and minds of Nigerians. I said you survived here. The tsunami swept the whole north; I think they have just about two Governors from about 28, 29 Governors controlled by PDP. But, the Sun will rise again.”
Mr. Ayade in his remarks hailed Mr. George as a “great icon” of the PDP and said his “doggedness and commitment to the party has being unflinching.”
He further said that: “You (Bode George) are a well-known name in Cross River. Everyone who sits here knows clearly that you are a very big name to reckon with in terms of character, in terms of commitment, in terms of action, in terms of purpose, in terms of sincerity, in terms of dexterity, in terms of agility, in terms of sagacity.”
He averred that Mr. George’s military background was critical to the party and invited him to the 2017 edition of the Carnival Calabar and festivals.
Earlier, Alhaji Ibrahim Aliyu who heads the campaign team had said that the team was in the state “to seek for your blessings.”
A select group from the team, the party in the state and Mr. Ayade later went into a private meeting.