PDP crisis festers as Ayu’s camp insists National Chairman will not resign

by Tunde Joshua, Abuja 

  •  …Damagum tip to act pending 2023 polls
  • …Party will not break, said BoT chair as body, NWC meets today  

Party members loyal to the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are insisting that Dr Iyorchia Ayu will not resign his position.

They argued that there is no justification for the call for Ayu’s resignation in the face of the ongoing crisis rocking the opposition party following the outcome of its presidential primary and selection of vice presidential candidate.

Ayu’s loyalists believed that efforts to save the polarization along Atiku and Wike factions would yield results.

The national chairman was said not to be folding his arms while the crisis lingers but striving behind the screen to galvanise leaders across regions and zones to both actors, Atiku and Wike together.

A member of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) said the reported clamour by the Wike’s camp that Ayu must step down is not feasible.

He told The Trumpet that the situation in the party has not warranted such call for Ayu’s resignation.

Speaking anonymously, he said “there is no justification for such call as such call will further trouble the party. I wonder what such demand is set to achieve in this pre-election year.

“I heard someone saying they want the chairman to resign on the grounds that both the national chairman and the presidential candidate cannot come from the same region. But they forgot that such can come into play after our candidate Atiku emerged the winner. Then it will be mandatory for the chairman to step down.

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He was reminded of an agreement that Ayu needed to resign if Atiku picked the presidential ticket but said he was not aware of such agreement.

Buttressing his position that Ayu has not been so docile about the crisis, he said “was it not the national chairman that worked on the Saraki’s reconciliation committee that has been going round lieutenants of the two major àctors.

“The national chairman will sit over the reconciliatory efforts and two will be reconciled. All aggrieved members will be brought together and we will have a united house ahead of the election. Let me shock you, this issue will top discussions at our meeting on Wednesday and our elders, the BoT is also meeting the same day to discuss the same issue.

“Results of the underground efforts by Ayu and other leaders will be manifested in the list of the national campaign council that will be composed soon.

He acknowledged that a meeting of the majority of NWC members was held at Ayu’s private residence in Abuja on Monday, he said it was not a face saving meeting but a meeting to put certain things in order before today’s meeting.

The tension in the party is being fuelled by strong words across the fence and the national chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu caught in between, prompting the call for his resignation.

Also, a former chieftain of PDP, Senator Abdul Ningi who is a staunch supporter of Atiku was critical of alleged foot dragging by the NWC in resolving the crisis.

He spoke on Channels Television on Monday.

He accused the national chairman Iyorchia Ayu of improper handling of the issue because of his personal interest.

According to him, s proactive leadership should have mend fences between Atiku and Wike but lamented that Ayu left the task to the presidential candidate and his men to sort out.

He said it shouldn’t be Atiku’s men that will be looking for a way to broker truce between the two over lingering issues but the leadership of the party should have taken the initiative.

Ningi also expressed optimism that all issues will be resolved amicably.

Members of PDP who are aggrieved that the governor of Rivers State was shortchanged in the race for vice presidential race accused the national chairman of sabotaging the process leading to the primary and influencing the choice of Delta governor, Ifeanyi Okowa as Atiku’s running mate.

Wike personally accused Atiku of not speaking the truth about circumstances surrounding recent events in the party after having kept mute for a while.

In an attempt to defend Atiku, reactions from his support rather stretch the fight.

Wike’s loyalists accused Atiku’s supporters of aggravating the crisis through uncomplimentary comments.

Former Governor Sule Lamido was quoted to have uttered statements that can further pitch the two actors against one another.

Comrade (Engr) Igbini Odafe Emmanuel, National President, Vanguard for Transparent Leadership and Democracy (VATLAD) said the totality of what Lamido said about Governor Wike is even more unfair and lies than the unfair and unjust treatment Atiku Abubakar meted on Governor Wike.

He faulted Lamido for saying that on the claim that what transpired at the PDP National Convention and that the outcome of the Process (Primary) was the Decision of PDP and should not be seen as personal?

“as Sule Lamido told the Truth about the process that led to the choice of Governor Okowa as the Vice Presidential Candidate of Atiku instead of Governor Wike?

“Has Sule Lamido told the Truth that the Presidential and Vice Presidential Ambitions of former Governor Peter Odili were stopped or truncated by the   Party (PDP) which went on to nominate late Governor Musa Yar Adua of Katsina State as its Presidential Candidate and then Acting Governor Goodluck Jonathan of Bayelsa State as its Vice Presidential Candidate? The obvious answers to these questions are, NO, NO, NO. Sule Lamido has deliberately misrepresented Truth and told Untrue.

“How then does anyone who deliberately distorts the truth and tells lies, want to be described in the English Language? A “Liar” is an English Word which by its dictionary meaning is: “a person who tells lies”. Governor Wike only spoke in English and used the appropriate English word. How then does this amount to insulting Atiku or anyone for that matter who told lies?

“If Atiku Abubakar or Sule Lamido did not want this English Word, “a Liar”, to be used on them by Governor Wike or any lover of the Truth, they should not have embarked on telling what is not true about what happened or deliberately misrepresenting Truth and proven Facts of what transpired at the recent National Convention of PDP where Atiku narrowly garnered more Delegate Votes than Governor Wike to be declared the Party’s Presidential Candidate.

“Was it the decision of the PDP of which Wike is a leading Chieftain and Presidential Aspirant, that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is adopted as its Presidential Candidate? Is this what Sule Lamido is trying to tell Nigerians and the whole world as the Truth?

“Is Sule Lamido pretending not to know that what transpired at the venue of the PDP Presidential Primary which saw Governor Aminu Tambuwal allowed to go back to the podium to renege on his earlier decision to contest in the Primary and his call on his Supporters (Delegates) to cast their votes for him and instead, went to step down for Atiku and asked his Delegates to cast their votes for Atiku? Did this not run against the agreed procedure adopted by the PDP for the conduct of a Free, Fair and Transparent Presidential Primary?

“Did this not amount to Electoral Fraud and a valid legal ground for Wike to seek Judicial Intervention to nullify the entire outcome and the nomination of Atiku as Presidential Candidate?

“Yet, the same Governor Wike who is now vilified by Atiku, Sule Lamido and some other few PDP Chieftains, deliberately chose not to nullify the fraudulent process of the Primary for the greater good of the Party ahead of 2023 General Elections. Shouldn’t he be commended?

“Is Sule Lamido pretending not to know that well-meaning Chieftains and members of the PDP were the ones who went to appeal to Governor Wike to accept to be Vice Presidential Candidate to Atiku in order to heal the wound caused by the Injustice done to him at the National Convention? “

Meanwhile, there is agitation that the Deputy National Chairman (North), Ambassador Ilya Damagum should be allowed to take charge as acting chairman should the plot to impeach Ayu scale through.

However, the chairman, Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sen. Walid Jubrin on Monday said efforts are on the way to resolve the lingering crisis in the party, as a special reconciliation body and members of the BoT are set to reconcile Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Governor Nyesom Wike and other aspirants in the last presidential primary of the party.

This is as he said that a reconciliatory agenda will be set at today’s meeting of the BoT in Abuja.

According to the BoT chairman, the crisis which was consequent upon the outcome of the presidential primary and the selection of the PDP vice presidential candidate.

Jibrin said “I notice with great concern that the PDP primary elections of Atiku Abubakar and the appointment of Chief Okowa as president and vice president is unnecessary causing confusion among some PDP members.

“May I point out very strongly that there is no problem as envisaged by some people in our great party the PDP.  I want to assure everyone that all plans are on ground to bring all members together as one and united.

“As what is happening in PDP can never be compared with the situation in APC especially their plans in trying to bring religious issues of Muslim-Muslim president and vice president.

Speaking on efforts on ground at finding a solution, the BoT chairman said “I have also noted that some groups are coming up trying to solve the issues of Okowa as vice-president.

The latest group include some former governors of the party and the current governors, some BoT members and elders including Prof Jerry Gana, the chief spokesman of the Wike group, that is Dankwambo, governors of Enugu and Abia states, and former governor Ibrahim Idris of Kogi State.

“The aim of the group is to reconcile the aggrieved, especially Wike.

“Interestingly the BoT, the highest advisory body and the conscience of the party is meeting on Wednesday 3rd August to discuss the issues accordingly and we will be coming up with strong recommendations for the special committee set up for reconciliation of aggrieved members, especially Governor Wike.

“After the BoT meeting, we will meet with Atiku and Wike and all aggrieved members and all past presidential aspirants.

“It is my prayer as Chairman of BoT that the PDP  will remain strong and win all elections in 2023.

Both camps anxiously await the outcome of today’s meeting of the two organs of the party, the NWC and BoT.

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