By Chris Ezeonoh,
The crisis ravaging the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) since the end of its presidential primaries has exacerbated as Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, his Oyo State counterpart, Seyi Makinde and other stakeholders have resolved not to participate in the party’s presidential campaign until, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, resigns as the national chairman of the party.
Rising from a crucial meeting in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, the stakeholders emphasized that the publication of the Presidential Campaign Council list without the resolution of Senator Ayu’s lingering debacle translates to “putting the cart before the horse.”
A statement issued by the Special Assistant, Media to Governor Wike, Mr Kelvin Ebiri said the former PDP South-West national vice chairman, Chief Olabode George, who read out the communiqué after the meeting, said they are concerned about the divisions in the party, and bemoaned the failure of the leadership to utilize the internal conflict resolution mechanisms to ensure inclusiveness of all and guarantee victory for the PDP.
“The published presidential campaign council list translates to putting the cart before the horse. The pertinent issue before the party remains the resolution of the Ayu leadership debacle, which is a departure from the spirit and letter of our constitution which undermines the unity of our great party.
“We, therefore, resolved that Senator Iyorchia Ayu resigns as the national chairman of the party for an acting chairman of Southern Nigeria extraction to emerge, and lead the party on the national campaign.
“Consequently, we resolved not to participate in the campaign council in whatever capacity until the resignation of Senator Iyorchia Ayu.”
In the same vein, former Plateau State governor, Senator Jonah Jang said the description of Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal as the PDP presidential primaries hero by Senator Ayu, is antithetical to the principle of justice, fair play and equity on which the party was formed.
“It is true that everything is being done for us to have internal democracy in the party. But, for the national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu to go and embrace Tambuwal, calling him the hero of the convention, means there was a private arrangement that was done with Tambuwal to short-change other contestants, including governor Wike.
“There was a referee, who now helps one of the sides to score a goal and then blows the whistle that a goal had been scored.
“This is not what we formed the PDP to do for Nigerians, and therefore, we unequivocally asked that Ayu has to step down, so that having got the presidential candidate from the northern part of the country through his assistance, he should as well now step down so that a national chairman can move to the south, and the party can be united for the campaign towards 2023.”
He said Governor Wike and others’ call for Senator Ayu to resign is aimed at addressing the structural imbalance in the party’s hierarchy.
On his part, former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana said if PDP cannot restructure itself, it cannot restructure Nigeria.
He insisted that as committed PDP members, they’re sincerely desirous that the PDP returns to power and provides Nigerians excellent governance.
“But that cannot be achieved unless we have a proper structure of the party as designed by the founding fathers. We are men and women, who are committed to the issues of justice, fairness, equity. You cannot build on a faulty foundation.
“Therefore, this call for the chairman to step down or resign is not because any of us is aggrieved but because we believed it is important to ensure a fair structure, a just structure, a principle structure, a constitutional structure for the party.
“If we want to restructure Nigeria, we should have the courage to restructure our party. And that is why we have met and decided that this is extremely important, and therefore we want Nigerians to know.”
Gana maintained that they would remain committed members of PDP, but will continue to insist that the right things be done.
“We remain PDP, but we want things done justly, fairly, equitably.”
Former Gombe State governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, who also spoke, declared that they would work for the party to the extent that fairness, equity and justice are ensured in the party.
Those who attended the meeting are Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike; Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde; former governors of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose; Dr Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo); Donald Duke (Cross River); PDP South -South national vice chairman, Chief Dan Orbih; former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, SAN; Senator Olaka Nwogu; Senator Lado Danmarke; Senator Mao Ohuabunwa; Senator Sandy Onor; Sulaiman Mohammed Nazif.
Others include Rt. Hon. Chibudum Nwuche; Hon. Ibrahim Shehu Gusau; Hon. Nnenna Elendu Ukeje; Hon. Mohammed Maifada; Hon. Bayo Lawal; Mohammed Jamu; Caleb Mutwang and David Emmanuel Ombugadu.
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