The turmoil engulfing the country’s biggest opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, became worse on Wednesday, with Governor Nyesom Wike’s team allegedly withdrawing from the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, campaign council.
This happened after a meeting early Wednesday morning in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State.
Members of the Rivers State Governor’s team have promised not to participate in Atiku’s campaign ahead of the 2023 general elections, according to our reporter.
They requested that the PDP’s National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, quit in order for them to reverse their decision.
They stated that there would be no retreat from the request for Ayu’s resignation as the party’s national chairman.
The conference was attended by disgruntled party leaders, party chieftains, including founding members of the party, governors, and previous ministers.
They urged that the post be given to the South for the sake of balance, fairness, and equality in the party, and hence they would not serve on Atiku Abubakar’s campaign council.
They also agree that an acting Chairman from the South will oversee the party’s national campaign in the run-up to the elections.
They stated their views in a resolution read by former deputy national chairman of the party, Chief Bode George, following a lengthy meeting on Wednesday at Governor Wike’s private villa in Port Harcourt.
They believed that their position was unassailable since Ayu’s chairmanship threatened the unity and constitution of the party.
While accusing Ayu of jeopardising the party’s presidential primaries on May 28 and 29, members stated the leaked presidential campaign council list was like putting the cat before the horse.
While reading the resolution, George expressed concern over the PDP’s rift, saying the party’s internal mechanisms should be ready to meet the difficulties.
“We resolve that the divide in our party is deeply alarming.” We are aware that our party has created dispute resolution methods that ensure inclusivity throughout the years.
“Putting the cat before the horse with the publicised presidential campaign council list.” The important problem is the leadership’s resolution, which is a break from the norm.
“Senator Iyorchia Ayu, the party’s National Chairman, must quit in order for an interim Chairman of Southern Nigerian origin to emerge and lead the party on the national campaign.”
“As a result, we pledge not to participate in the campaign council in any way until Dr. Iyorchia Ayu resigns.”
Senator Jonah Jang, a Wike friend and former Plateau State Governor, mocked Ayu for supporting Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tanbuwal, calling him the convention’s hero.
Jang said that Ayu’s actions demonstrated that the outcome of the primary was predetermined in order to shortchange the other contenders.
“For a National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, to go and hug Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tanbuwal, labeling him the hero of the convention suggested that there was a private deal made with Tambuwal to shortchange other competitors, including Governor Wike,” he stated.
The pro-Wike faction stated that they supported Wike not because he lost the presidential primary or because he was not picked as Atiku’s running mate, but for the sake of equality and justice in the party.
Prof. Jerry Gana, former Minister of Information, stated, “You cannot build on a poor foundation.”
“This demand the chairman to step down or resign is not motivated by personal grievances, but by a desire to safeguard the party’s just, fair, principled, and constitutional structure.” If we want to reorganise Nigeria, we must first be brave enough to restructure our party.”
The Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, said: “We hope that the powers that be heed to the voice of reason and do the needful”.