Journalism of Courage

We won’t participate in Atiku’s campaign until Ayu resigns, say Wike, others they pull out of campaign council, describe Ayu as a “bad referee”

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and other aggrieved stalwarts of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have pulled out of the campaign Council of the party’s Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, scheduled to begin on September 28, 2022.

They also insisted that they would not support Atiku in his presidential bid until the National Chairman of the party, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, vacates his seat to allow an acting Chairman from the South to take over.

Wike and the other members of his camp comprising the founding members of the party, sitting governors, former ministers and other leaders of the party made their position known in a resolution read by a former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George, at a meeting held at the country home of governor in Port Harcourt, late Tuesday night.

Persecondnews reports that the PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and Wike have been embroiled in a lot of controversies following Atiku’s choice of running mate, Delta Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa, for the 2023 presidential election.

They have also been at daggers-drawn over the call for the resignation of the PDP National Chairman, Ayu.

According to Wike, the issue at hand is that of justice and fairness.

He said the North after producing the party’s presidential candidate, it should not also hold on to the chairmanship of the party.

George said they were deeply concerned about the division in the PDP despite the party’s age-long internal mechanism designed to guarantee inclusiveness.

“We resolve that we are deeply concerned by the division in our party. We are aware that over the years our party has developed conflict resolution mechanisms that guarantee inclusiveness.

“The published presidential campaign council list translates to putting the cat before the horse. The pertinent issue remains the resolution of the leadership that Senator Iyorchia Ayu must resign as the National Chairman of the party for an acting Chairman of the Southern Nigerian extraction to emerge and lead the party on the national campaign.

“Consequently, we resolve not to participate in the campaign council in whatever capacity until the resignation of Dr. Iyorchia Ayu,” Persecondnews quotes George as saying.

On his part, former Plateau State Governor, Sen. Jonah Jang, said Ayu is a “bad referee, who assisted one side to score a goal during a football match and later blew the whistle.”

He accused Ayu of compromising the May 28 and 29 presidential primaries of the party through his conduct.

Jang said: “For a National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu to go and embrace Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tanbuwal, calling him the hero of the convention meant that there was a private arrangement that was done with Tambuwal to shortchange other contestants including Governor Wike.

“Here was a referee, who helped one of his sides to score a goal and then blew the whistle. This is not what we formed the PDP to do for Nigerians. Therefore, we unequivocally ask that Ayu must step down”.

Also speaking, a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, said if the party intended to restructure Nigeria it should have the courage to restructure itself.

According to him, their support for Wike was for the sake of equity and justice in the party, not because he lost the presidential primary or because he was not chosen as the Vice-presidential running mate.

“You cannot build on a faulty foundation. This call for the chairman to step down or resign is not because any of us is aggrieved but because we believe it is important to ensure a just, fair, principled and constitutional structure for the party.

“If we want to restructure Nigeria, we should have the courage to restructure our party,” Gana said.

Meanwhile, Abia Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu, and his Benue counterpart, Samuel Ortom, who were absent at the meeting, reportedly “sent words pledging to abide by any decision taken”, citing pressing  state matters as excuse.


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