- Camp insists Ayu must quit
- Chairman won’t be forced out, says Atiku
The crisis engulfing the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has not abated.
Yesterday, the Ayu-must-go vanguards vowed not to board the presidential campaign bus of Atiku Abubakar so long as Dr. Iyorchia Ayu held the position of the party’s national chairman, according to The Nation.
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike is leading those asking Ayu to step down in the spirit of equity in the party.
But in a swift response, Atiku told Wike and his allies that he could not force Ayu out of office.
He urged them to reconsider their stand, saying he was surprised by the withdrawal of the Rivers governor and members of his group from the PDP presidential campaign council.
Rising from their meeting at Wike’s Obio-Akpor country home, members of the team insisted that there would be no deal with Atiku until Ayu vacated his office to allow an acting chairman from the South to lead the party.
At the meeting were Wike; Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde; former governors Jonah Jang (Plateau), Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), Ayo Fayose (Ekiti), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), Donald Duke (Cross River); former Deputy National Chairman Chief Olabode George; Senator Garkin Lado, former House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Prince Chibudum Nwuche, Caleb MutFwang, Senator Sandey Onor and Senator Mao Ohuabunwa.
Others are Chief Dan Orbih, David Emmanuel Obugadu, Mohammed Maifada, Senator Suleiman Nazif, Nnenna Elendu Ukeje, former Information Minister Prof Jerry Gana, Bayou Lawal, Ibrahim Shehu-Gusau, Senator Olaka Nwogu, former Justice Minister Mohammed Adoke and Mohammed Jamiu.
The aggrieved stalwarts made their position known in a resolution read by Chief George.
They maintained that their position was not negotiable as the chairmanship of Ayu undermined the unity and constitution of the party.
George said they were deeply concerned about the division in the PDP despite its age-long internal mechanism designed to guarantee inclusiveness.
He said it amounted to putting the cart before the horse for Atiku to have gone ahead to publish his presidential campaign council list without addressing the structural imbalance in the party.
George said: “Senator Iyorchia Ayu must resign as 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”.
Jang accused Ayu of compromising the May 28 and 29 presidential primary through his conduct.
He likened Ayu to a bad referee, who assisted one side to score a goal during a football match and later blew the whistle to end the competition.
He said the group was behind Wike, adding that everything the Rivers governor had said remained the only truth.
Jang said their support for Wike was neither because he lost the presidential primary nor because he missed out on the slot for the vice-presidential candidate.
He said they were backing the governor for standing for justice, fairness and equity, recalling that the party was founded on such principles.
Jang said: “We want to take this opportunity to assure our teeming supporters in the PDP that everything Governor Wike has been saying is not for him as a person.
“And it is not because he lost the primaries and he was not taken as a vice-presidential candidate as some people are making it look like.