PDP Pacifies South With BoT Chair, Ayu Stays

The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, on Thursday, secured the nod of the party’s National Executive Committee members to continue as the chairman.

The party’s 97th NEC meeting passed a vote of confidence in Ayu.

This is despite the clamour for his resignation by the River State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and many other top members of the party from the South.

However, the Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, Senator Walid Jibrin, resigned from office and was replaced with a former President of the Senate, Adolphus Wabara, in an acting capacity.

The PUNCH reports that 397 members of the NEC, including past national chairmen of the party, former Vice President Namadi Sambo, and the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, among others were accredited for the meeting.

All the NEC members at the meeting voted in support of Ayu to continue as the chairman of the party.

The acting BoT chairman, Wabara, had put it to a voice vote after the House Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, moved a motion for Ayu to remain in office.

Speaking at the NEC, Ayu denied there was a crisis in the party, describing what was happening in the party as a normal disagreement.

He assured members that the disagreements would be resolved before the 2023 election.

Ayu said, “This party is united despite the impression some people might want to create. Anybody here would see the enthusiasm and harmony in the party. It is normal to have disagreements.

“This party knows how to settle its rifts before the election. We need to focus on security, which, among others is Nigeria’s biggest worry. We will come out of this meeting stronger than we have ever been.”

Also, Wabara said with the ambience at the meeting and the internal mechanism to resolve the crisis, the party could go to sleep ahead of the 2023 elections.

He added, “Today is a great day for us and we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We have an in-built mechanism to solve feuds. When people expect us to implode, that is when we come out stronger.

“With this, I can boldly say we can go to sleep; we have won the 2023 election. We should always debrief ourselves in-house rather than play to the gallery. We should watch our utterances. It is only God that knows tomorrow.

“Once you voiced a word, it is always difficult to withdraw. My advice to us is to be mature enough to control ourselves. There is no problem in life that has no solution. The campaign starts, and everything has changed with the NWC. We should go home and ensure our votes count. We are in support of the national committee on this.”

On his part, Atiku assured the party leadership that all disagreements would be resolved.

He said, “Family disagreements are normal but what I can assure you is that we are determined to resolve them internally. The PDP is the oldest party in Nigeria. We have rules, and regulations and I want to add, that no matter the level of disagreement, it must be resolved with the rules of the party. All our disagreements must be resolved internally.”

Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, who is also the Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, called on party members to explore internal mechanisms and ensure the resolution of all disagreements in the party.

He urged the Independent National Electoral Commission and the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to make sure there are free, fair and credible elections in 2023 like was recently done in Osun.e

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Apart from Tambuwal, Governors Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Darius Ishaku (Taraba) and Douye Diri (Bayelsa), attended the meeting while their Delta State counterpart, Ifeanyi Okowa, sent his apology.

The deputy governors of Benue and Adamawa also attended the NEC meeting.

Jibrin announces resignation

Announcing his resignation at the BoT meeting, which preceded the NEC meeting, Jibrin said the decision was made to ensure the party’s presidential candidate emerges victorious in the 2023 elections.

He said, “I took this decision based on what I said in the past. I said that all we want to make sure of is that Atiku Abubakar becomes the president by all means, and that is why I sincerely decided to step down from the BoT. I discussed this with the candidate and he agreed with me. I am sure if the party wins, I will be given a bigger position.”

Ayu appreciated Jubril for serving the party meritoriously.

Wike adamant

Unimpressed by Jibrin’s resignation, the Rivers State governor, Wike has vowed to sustain the fight for a return to a healthy party structure that would allow for an even representation of the interest of the North and South in the national leadership of the PDP.

The governor said the current leadership structure where the north holds the presidential ticket, as well as the national chairman position, was against the constitution of the party and a gross injustice to the South.

Wike spoke at the inauguration of the Ahoada campus of the Rivers State University and flag-off of staff quarters, which was performed by the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, on Thursday.

The governor said, “Ayu said if the presidential candidate comes from the North, that he will resign after the convention of our party, and that the chairman of our party will come from the South.

“When the North-Central leaders met in the house of Bala Mohammed, governor of Bauchi State; he said so there. When he met the caucus of the Senate, he told them that.

“Now, when we finished our convention on Sunday, the candidate of the party came to see me in my house in Abuja on Monday around 10.30 am. The candidate told me he wants us to work together, and then he said, ‘Look, Ayu must go’. I said ‘why?’ He (Atiku) said because when a candidate comes from the North, the chairman will come from the South.”

Oyo PDP

The Oyo State chapter of the PDP said it would make its position known on Ayu’s refusal to step down.

The PDP in Oyo State is one of the chapters of the party demanding the resignation of Ayu.

The state Publicity Secretary, Akeem Olatunji, said, “We will react to the resignation of the BoT chairman and the refusal of Senator Ayu to resign after the party in Oyo State might have been briefed by the state chairman and members of the BoT, Dr Saka Balogun and Alhaja Mutiat Ladoja, who were part of the NEC meeting today. We are expecting them to come back from Abuja and brief us.’’

When contacted for reaction, Osun PDP Caretaker chairman, Dr Akindele Adekunle, said the NEC meeting was still in progress.

Meanwhile, the party’s NEC has approved the presidential campaign structure for the 2023 general elections.

 

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