PDP Crisis: Wike’s Camp Pulls Out Of Campaign

PDP Crisis: Wike’s Camp Pulls Out Of Campaign
  • Insists Ayu must go
  • He’ll not resign, say Atiku, BoT

By Mbachu Godwin, Abuja

There is no end in sight of the crisis rocking the main opposition , the Peoples Democratic Party ,PDP, as a group of the PDP members, loyal to the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, one week to the kick-off of campaign have withdrawn their participation in the Presidential Campaign Committee of the party for the 2023 general elections, demanding the resignation of the National Chairman , Dr Iyorchia Ayu

There has been disagreement between the party’s flagbearer, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the runners up to the party’s presidential primary election Gov Nyesom Wike over the choice of Vice -Presidential Candidate as well as the North retaining the chairmanship position of the party.

AljazirahNigeria reports that the group’s position was disclosed by a former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Olabode George, after hours of meeting, which started Tuesday evening and ended early hours on Wednesday morning.

“The published presidential campaign council list translates to putting the cart before the horse; the pertinent issue remains the Ayu leadership. We therefore resolve that senator Iyorchia Ayu resigns as the national chairman for an acting chairman of southern Nigeria extraction. We resolved not to participate in the campaign council in whatever capacity until the resignation of Dr Iyorchia Ayu”, he said.

The meeting, which was held at the private residence of Mr Wike in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, came less than a week after the party appointed some members of the group into Atiku’s presidential campaign committee.

But the group leader, Mr Wike, was included as a member of the committee with Seyi Makinde of Oyo State was also named as the vice chairman South of the presidential council committee.

Party members who attended the meeting are governor of Oyo state Mr Seyi Makinde, former Governors Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo, former National Deputy Chairman Chief Bode George , former governors Ayo Fayose , Donald Duke , Ibrahim Dakwambo , Jonah Jang , and a former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke.

Others are a former Information Minister, Jerry Gana, South-south Chairman of the PDP, Dan Orbih, a former Deputy Speaker of the House Representative, Chibudom Nwuche among others.

Members of the group vowed not to participate in the campaign committee in whatever capacity except the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, leaves his position for a southerner.

Mr Wike’s group is demanding the resignation of the national chairman but Mr Ayu has argued that he was elected for a four year term and will only resign if the party wins the 2023 presidential election.

The governors are calling for Mr Ayu’s resignation to achieve a “regional balance”, since the party chairman and Mr Atiku are both from the north.

Already, the party’s Chairman of Board of Trustees ,BoT, Walid Jibrin, who is also from Nasarawa State in the North had resigned his position to assuage the feelings of the Wike camp.

The secretary of the Board of Trustee BOT and former senate president Sen Adolphus Wabara from the South-east was appointed acting BoT chairman.

However, the Wike’s camp is not impressed with Mr Jibrin’s resignation, insisting it is Dr Ayu should vacate his position. On Monday one of the close allies of Wike, and governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom had asked the leadership of the party to address the grievances of their camp rather than dismissing him with a wave of hand. Political observers believed that the party may not clinch the presidency if it goes into the 2023 election with a divided house.

The embattled National Chairman Iyorchia Ayu and the party’s presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar are currently outside Nigeria as at press time.

Meanwhile, Atiku Abubakar has declared that the PDP National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu won’t resign as demanded by the Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike and other PDP Governors in his camp.

Atiku, in a reaction to the withdrawal of Wike and his loyalists from the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, urged the aggrieved party chieftains to have a rethink and retrace their steps

In a statement yesterday, Atiku said: “On the calls for the resignation or removal from office of our national chairman, however, 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 everything 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”.

Karma at play ?

AljazirahNigeria recalls that in 2014, Vice-President Atiku Abubakar who was elected on the platform of the PDP twice, Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, Abubakar Kawo Baraje, Bukola Saraki and five governors of the then ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, defected to the then opposition All Progressives Congress, APC with the toga of the newPDP and many including Atiku Abubakar contested the APC presidential primary held in Lagos.

The governors known then as the G7 in the breakaway faction of the party led by Abubakar Kawu Baraje, five include Rotimi Amaechi ,Rivers, Rabiu Kwankwaso ,Kano, Murtala Nyako ,Adamawa, Abdulfatah Ahmed ,Kwara, and Magatakarda Wamakko ,Sokoto, all joined the APC but for strategic reasons former governors Aliyu Babangida ,Niger, who was the chairman of the G7 Governors’ Forum and Sule Lamido ,Jigawa, had remained in the then ruling party as moles. The defection AljazirahNigeria agrees with some political pundits spurred the then opposition APC to victory , the defeat the PDP is yet to recover till date.

Going memory lane, it was the insistence of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan given the right to contest again in 2015 after the 2011 outing that was victorious. The aggrieved governors especially those from the North latched on to demand for power shift that it was the turn of the North, colluded with the likes of Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi from the South who had fallen out with the wife of the President by extension the President himself.

The same scenario is playing out as the Southern governors of the PDP demanded for equity and power balancing in the leadership of the party. Ayu persuaded the party to jettison zoning against the constitution that what is paramount was to win election but has consistently maintained that for him to resign to balance power in the party the constitution must be followed.

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