Ford Shifter Linkage?

I am working on a 1975 Ford F100 Explorer pickup truck with 360 V-8 and C-6 Automatic. The column shift collar has come loose from the shifter tube; disengaging the shifter arm down low on the column; and misindexing the neutral safety shift interlock pin.

The question is how to disconnect the manual shift rod going down to the transmission from the shifter arm that is at the lower end of the steering column. To get the steering column out of the truck the rod will most likely have to be disconnected from the arm as it is at a right angle to the arm and probably could not be maneuvered through the hole in the fire wall. There is a plastic bushing through which the rod passes and the end retained. There is no C-clip or cotter pin retention. No amount of prying has released the rod from the bushing or the bushing from the shift arm. Has anyone more information on this retention device/bushing? Does anyone have a hint on how to remove the rod from the shift arm.

As stated previously the shift collar to which the shifter lever inserts is split allowing the collar to rotate independently from the shift tube and allowing the shift tube to work upward disengaging it from the lower shift arm (putative but not visualized yet). So the second question is: Has anyone seen this problem on a Ford?

Thank you for any information.