PDP Crisis Deepens as Wike, Loyalists Pull Out of Atiku’s Campaign

•Presidential candidate sues for peace, seeks collaboration, declares decision to resign is Ayu’s  

•Unbothered chairman says party is ideas, development-driven

Chuks Okocha in Abuja, George Okoh in Makurdi, Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt and Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano

The last may not have been heard of the crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP ) as the Governor Nyesom Wike-led tendency in the party, has pulled out of the Presidential Campaign Council of Atiku Abubakar, except the party’s National Chairman, Dr. Iyorcha Ayu, steps down.

But Atiku had quickly made a deft reconciliatory move, where he first sued for peace, sought the collaboration of the aggrieved parties and reiterated that the decision to resign as national chairman was Ayu’s, given the constitutional and legal pathway to the option.

This, nonetheless, Ayu, yesterday, assured the party’s social media handlers of massive support and encouragement, to enable them effectively communicate PDP’s message of hope, unity, restoration and development to the Nigerian public, noting that the opposition PDP was a party of ideas.

The resolution of the Wike group to pull out of Atiku’s campaign was taken at a meeting held in Wike’s country home in Obio-Akpor, yesterday.

Prominent members of the group, including founding members of the party, governors, former ministers and other leaders of the party made their stance known in a resolution read by a former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George.

George said, “Senator Iyorchia Ayu must resign as the National Chairman of the party for an acting Chairman of the Southern Nigerian extraction to emerge and lead the party on the national campaign. Consequently, we resolve not to participate in the campaign council in whatever capacity until the resignation of Dr. Iyorchia Ayu.”

The group accused Ayu of compromising the May 28 and 29 presidential primary of the party through his conduct and as such, aligned with Wike to pull out of the Atiku campaign.

Immediate former governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah Jang, described Ayu as a bad referee, who assisted one side to score a goal during a football match and later blew the whistle.

His words: “For a National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, to go and embrace Sokoto Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, calling him the hero of the convention, meant that there was a private arrangement that was done with Tambuwal to shortchange other contestants, including Governor Wike.

“Here was a referee, who helped one of his sides to score a goal and then blew the whistle. This is not what we formed the PDP to do for Nigerians. Therefore, we unequivocally ask that Ayu must step down.”

The group contended that, their support for Wike was neither because he lost the presidential primary nor because he was not chosen as the running mate but because of equity and justice in the party.

A former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, said if the party intended to restructure Nigeria, it should have the courage to restructure itself.

Gana said, “You cannot build on a faulty foundation. This call for the chairman to step down or resign is not because any of us is aggrieved but because we believe it is important to ensure a just, fair, principled and constitutional structure for the party. If we want to restructure Nigeria, we should have the courage to restructure our party.”

Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, said, “We hope that the powers that be listens to the voice of reason and do the needful” adding that, he backed the decision of the group to pull out of the Atiku campaign.

Makinde is the Deputy Director General (South) of the campaign council while Wike and several others are members.

But a former national chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, has distanced himself from the suit to sack the Ayu-led NWC. The suit is presently at the Abuja High Court.

According to the media aide to Secondua, Ike Abonye, the case said to have been filed by Mr Chuma Chinye, a former staff in the office of the former national chairman, prayed the court to sack the Ayu-led NWC, since Secondus was illegally and forcefully removed from office.

The statement read: “But Prince Secondus, who was never privy to the case said he was distancing himself from it as it runs against his principles of exhausting internal party machinery on any case before going to court.”

He noted that he has always been a strong advocate of settling cases in-house, saying the only circumstance that would make him be in court against PDP is if he was defending self.

Secondus then told members of the public and the party faithful trying to associate him with the case to be properly guided and note his position.

Atiku: Let’s Join Hands, Move on With Task of Nation-building

Presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, has reacted to the withdrawal of the Governor Nyesom Wike associates and urged them to join him to rescue Nigeria, stressing that the decision by the National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, to resign or not, remained his personal undertaking.

The former vice-president said, as a believer in the concept of the rule of law, any move to remove Ayu must be within the dictates and letters of the PDP constitution.

In the statement, Atiku stated: “My attention was drawn to a news clip in which several very senior and influential members of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), addressed the press and, amongst other things, declared that they are withdrawing, forthwith, from the Presidential Campaign Council set up by our party to judiciously plan and prosecute the general elections set to hold in February and March 2023, on the one hand; and reiterated their earlier calls for the resignation or removal from office of the national chairman of our party, Senator Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, on the other hand.

“The people that addressed the press must have their reasons for withdrawing from the Presidential Campaign Council, and I will not speculate as to what those reasons may be.

“Personally, I am quite surprised with this withdrawal, because as I have been informed by officials of our party, apart from the  Rivers State chapter of the PDP, all the remaining states of the federation submitted names of people, who they wanted included in the Presidential Campaign Council.”

On the calls for Ayu’s resignation or removal from office, he said,  “I must reiterate what I have said severally in public and in private;  the decision for Dr. Iyorchia Ayu to resign from office is personal to Dr. Ayu and, neither I nor anyone else can make that decision for him.

“As to the calls for the removal of Dr. Ayu from office, however, I will state that, as a committed democrat and firm believer in the rule of law and democratic tenets, and our party being one set up, organised and regulated by law and our constitution, it is my absolute belief that every thing that we do in our party must be done in accordance with, and conformity to, the law and our constitution.

“If Dr. Ayu is to be removed from office, it must be done in accordance with the laws that set out the basis for such removal. In any event, you will all recall that the very body that is empowered by law to initiate this removal from office, has already passed a vote of confidence in him.

“Now, our nation is currently in the throes of a multidimensional crisis encompassing insecurity, economic meltdown, disunity and mutual mistrust and educational dislocations, to mention a few. I have a plan to address these issues and I have, graciously, been given the ticket to lead our great party in next year’s presidential election, with the singular mandate to come and lead the efforts to cure these ills.

“It is in this light that I have reached out to every single member of our great party to join me in the massive undertaking required to reset the ship of state, and help rebuild our country. Every single person, who loves this country, as I do, is needed for the arduous tasks that face us ahead as a nation, and this includes every member of the PDP.

“And it is my fervent hope and prayer that every man and woman of goodwill will join hands with us to help rebuild and reposition our beloved country. In this light, therefore, I will urge those members of our party that have stated their resolve to withdraw from the Presidential Campaign Council to have a rethink, retrace their steps, and join us in these efforts.

“The above, notwithstanding, and for the sake of our country, our children, and those yet unborn, we must not, for one minute, shirk in our responsibilities to rebuild this beloved country of ours. Accordingly, we must forge on with the task and the mandate that we have been bestowed with.  It is time, therefore, to move on with the formidable tasks of nation building ahead of us.”

Ayu: PDP is Party of Ideas, Development

National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, has assured the party’s social media handlers of massive support and encouragement, to enable them effectively communicate PDP’s message of hope, unity, restoration and development to the Nigerian public.

Ayu stated this in Kano yesterday while hosting a coalition of some PDP Social Media Groups.

Ayu, who was represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communication, Mal Yusuf Dingyadi, warned party faithful to eschew falsehood, mischief and political blackmail.

“I urge you to take the high road of truth and issues. PDP will not tolerate or encourage use of lies, propaganda and mischief by any member of the party, even if it’s to garner support for the party. We are not a party of lies or perpetual propaganda; we are the party of ideas and development.

“We will, therefore, not allow use of lies or mischief by any of our social media handlers in order to market candidates of this great party. Those of you with such ideas must change and blend in our journey.

“Our social media handlers should focus on issues, unity, reconciliation and political cohesion by posting things that will improve the party’s electoral fortunes, not things that will hurt our reputation or hinder our membership drive ahead of 2023,” he said.

Earlier, Coordinator of Kano State Social Media Group, Malam Farouk Abba Labaran, assured the national chairman and the national working committee of the PDP of their loyalty, support, with a vow to helping the party win the presidency, take control of the National Assembly and at least 25 governorships in next year’s general elections.

Ortom, Wabara Meets to Solve PDP Crises

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom and former Senate President and Chairman, Board of Trustees of the PDP, Dr Adolphus Wabara, have called for true reconciliation to solve the rift within the party before the 2023 elections.

Both Ortom and Wabara spoke at the inauguration of the N400 million forty room Aper Aku lodge government guest house, Makurdi.

Wabara, who is the chairman, peace committee, appealed to all aggrieved members to support the committee to enable them solve the problems and quickly too.

He stated that every family has its own problems and there was need for every hand to be on deck to restore peace to the party.

“There is no family without problems and that is exactly why we have came to the head to encourage us with suggestions to solve the problems. As I said earlier, there is no problems without solution. We should just watch our utterances, because we will all come back to the same table in the interest of Nigerians,” Wabara said.

The BOT chairman stated that it was only PDP that could deliver the nation and provide dividends of democracy like they did in the past 16 years, when they were in power, adding: “God just asked us to give way, eight years, for Nigerians to judge for themselves.”

While acknowledging that the aggrieved members have their points, he promised that, “We will look at it as the conscience of the party and come out with a decision very soon. We will reach out to the groups. That is why we came here so that he (Ortom) will create the enabling environment for us to reach out to others.”

Responding, Ortom, who noted that he was also an aggrieved party member, commended the Wabara committee for their peace moves.

“I have been with Wike. We are friends. We are colleagues and we share common understanding on these issues. I commend the BOT for taking these steps because reconciliation is very key and that is why I said the party leadership would have deployed its internal conflict resolution mechanism long ago. I commend this effort, reaching out, discussing and dialoguing.

“Politics, as I know in over 40 years of practice, is full of conflict but you must get to discussing it and finding solutions. People have diverse interests. You must look at it and see how there can be a win-win.

“But treating people as if they are nothing or they have no value, does not make sense to me. So, that is what the BOT is trying to do and I believe they have seen me, we have discussed, they are also going to see other governors and I believe that at the end of the day, we shall do something that will bring us together,” he said.

Asked if he was going to play a mediatory role or stay by the side, Ortom said, “I’m an aggrieved person too and that is why they came. I’m not happy with leadership of the party on what they are doing.”

“We should be working together. They are here as fathers, as leaders and as conscience of the party, to discuss with us. We have met, we have made our positions known severally, that we are not happy with the way the leadership of the party at the national level is managing the party. They need to do something.”

 

(THISDAY)

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