By Tunde Joshua
Following the emergence of a northerner, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the national chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, also a northerner has been asked to vacate office. The call was made by the Leader of the Pan- Niger Delta Development Forum (PANDEF,), Chief Edwin Clark who blamed Atiku’s victory on insensitivity of the PDP to the principle of power rotation and zoning.
He also castigated Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal as a betrayer of national patriotism for paving way for Atiku’s emergence by stepping down a moment to the election Clark, in a personally signed statement in Abuja on Tuesday as well fumed at monetization of the polity by contestants at the primary.
He warned that dollarization of the electoral process portends great danger for the 2023 general election. In the furiously crafted statement, the elder statesman said : “Most disturbing is what happened at the Special National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Abuja, on Saturday, 28th May 2022.
I followed the live broadcasts of the proceedings keenly, until about 12.30 am on Sunday, the 29th. I was alarmed by the outrageous and Machiavelli manner in which Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, Governor of Sokoto State, was so apparently ‘arranged’ to announce his withdrawal from the contest, at the last minute; his speech changed the mood of the event.
“That was done in order to foist another northerner as the party’s flag bearer; having regard to the fact that Governor Aminu Tambuwal was the only aspirant from the whole of the Northwest, which had about 192 delegates at the convention.
What Tambuwal did was not only dishonourable but also a serious electoral abnormality and a tragic betrayal of national patriotism for hidebound interests.
“It is now widespread understanding that there were pressures mounted on Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, and former Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, to also withdraw, while Tambuwal deliberately delayed his action till the last minute.
By so doing, unduly swept his North-west votes to Atiku Abubakar. One can now appreciate the reasons given by Mr Peter Obi for his withdrawal from the PDP, both as a member, and as an aspirant, few days before the party’s primary. And I would think that what he did was, without doubt, in respect, or obedience, to the position of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum.
“Unfortunately, some aspirants from the south believed that, with the resources and facilities at their disposal, their elders no longer matter, and disregarded, with impunity, the patriotic advice on the need to be steadfast on the position of the zoning of the presidency to the south.
They never minded that what we have been advocating was in their interest. They proved themselves to be selfish and arrogant, and thought they could win on their own steam.
They failed; I can only hope that they have, now, learned their lessons.” He further said: “Even much worse, in the extreme, was the action of the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Iyorchia Ayu, in his open visit to Governor Tambuwal to congratulate and hail him, in his words, as ‘the hero of the convention’.
This clearly reveals his partiality and predilection in the processes leading to the baffling conclusion of the PDP presidential primary.
Senator Ayu has failed to realize that what we are fighting for affects all minorities in Nigeria. “Senator Iyorchia Ayu’s appalling, thoughtless and unpatriotic public conduct bears grave negative consequences. He should, therefore, no longer consider himself fit and proper to retain his position as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and should resign now.”