… say Atiku can’t be barred from 2nd term
Many stakeholders in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have said they want party’s national chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu to remain in office until the conclusion of the election in 2023.
According to them, changing the party national chairman Ayu so close to the election could endanger the party’s chances of victory at the polls.
They also point out that Ayu’s tenure is backed by the constitution and so removing him is not that simple.
Adadainfo reports that Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and his allies are said to demanding Ayu’s removal as a part of the reconciliation process in the party.
Wike and his allies in PDP are aggrieved after he lost former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and was also overlooked for running mate in favour of Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa
Wike’s group say all the party leadership are in the hands of northerners in opposition to the party’s zoning culture.
But while some PDP leaders described the demand for Ayu’s sack as ill-timed as it was too close to the elections,
a small number of the party chairmen say Ayu should be sacrficed ic it will forge harmony in the party. should step aside if that would be in the interest of the party. They noted that it would be his sacrifice for the party’s unity ahead of the polls.
Presidential campaigns start on September 28.
Wike’s camp was said to have insisted on Ayu’s sack at the recent meeting with Atiku in London.
Special adviser, Media and Public Affairs to the Kaduna State PDP chairman/chairman Forum of PDP State Chairmen, Mr. Edward John Auta said the call for Ayu to resign is not a wrong call but ill-timed.
“The call for Ayu’s resignation is never out of place given PDP’s long history of zoning and power sharing among the 6 geopolitical zones of the country. There’s simply no justification for the BoT Chairman, National Chairman, and President to all come from the North, however, the timing for this particular demand by the Wike camp isn’t appropriate.
“The right thing to do is to demand for the National Chairman’s resignation for a southerner immediately after the PDP must have won the 2023 presidential election. Otherwise, there will still be crisis in the future in the event Ayu resigns and the PDP still loses the presidential election.
“Thus, I will advise Atiku and his team to agree to concede the national chairmanship to the south on the condition that Atiku wins the presidency. That will be a fair deal for both parties, the PDP family and indeed Nigerians”.
On single term for the presidential candidate Abubakar Atiku, he said, “I think it is a matter that should be left for Nigerians to decide when Atiku comes into office. It should be based on his performance as President, because if he is able to do exceedingly well, no right thinking member of the PDP should say he shouldn’t continue with the legacy of performance he would have started because of a previous agreement with Wike and his group.
“Even Nigerians will not forgive the PDP or Atiku if he’s prevented from contesting a second term in the event the first meets the expectations of the majority of the people,” he said.
The Osun State chapter of PDP also said the call for Ayu to resign is wrongly timed.
PDP’s media director in Osun State, Mr Oladele Bamiji said the call for Ayu to go at the peak of preparation for the presidential election may be counterproductive.
According to him, the best thing is to allow the party at this crucial time to complete the assignment successfully to avoid failure.
God forbid, if our presidential candidate lose the election, what will happen. Scouting for the return of the chairmanship position to the north or what?” He said.
He said that it is better for the party to retain the current chairman at least till the outcome of the presidential election is determined.
Adamawa chairman of PDP, Barr Tahir Shehu said, the party shouldn’t succumb to what he called an intimidating condition of Ayu’s sack.
He also said the party cannot agree to intimidating pressure that the party’s flag bearer, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, should serve one-term in office as President of Nigeria.
“With or without Wike, reconciling with the flag bearer of the party Atiku Abubakar, the party will ensure victory in 2023.
“In as much as Wike is an important person in the party, that does not mean that, our party flag-bearer Atiku will succumb to intimidating pressure by Wike by given conditions that, among which is that our party flag-bearer should serve for one term in office as president, which we said no.
“And that, the national chairman of PDP, should step down for Wike to bring his successor, which we equally said no.
“As a legal person, Wike being a lawyer, should know the national chairman of the Party was elected, not appointed by national convention of the party.
“There is tenure to office of the national chairman, we would not agreed to that, as far as my view is concerned. Shehu added.
Unexpectedly, Rivers State PDP leadership said it stands with Governor Wike on his position on Ayu.
The state party also stands with the governor on his decision on Atiku’s tenure in office.
PDP publicity secretary in the state, Tambari Sydney Gbara, said in Port Harcourt that party stands with Wike in every count.
Gbara said: “We as a party, we stand by the leader of our party, His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. Wherever he stands is where we stand. Whatever is his opinion is our opinion. Whatever he is saying is what we are saying.
“On issue of Atiku’s tenure, what I said earlier encompasses everything. Whatever is the position of our leader is our position. Whatever he tells us to do is what we are going to do,” he said.
The Lagos State PDP chairman, Phillip Aivoji, said the issues at stake are constitutional matters but thatcontinuity is best for now.
He said, “We have a party constitution and I think the constitution must be followed. There is a room for mid-term convention, which will come very soon, my own take my personal opinion is that, we should not be in a hurry to do anything, the man Iyorchia Ayu, this is a man that brought a lot of integrity to the party, majorly we should win the election and I believe he can steer the ship.
“Immediately we win the election he will relinquish the position and all positions in the North will be brought to the South and the ones in the South are taken to the North,so everybody is carried along,we should not do anything in a hurry.
“This is democracy,you don’t force people out of power like the military, they have to take that step, except he resigns voluntarily no problem. Nobody should force him to resign.”
“On the party’s Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar that is also a condition for discussion, when you are on a table for discussion, so many issues will occur, you will take the best approach to it, you will carry everybody along. I continue to wish them well, God will give them wisdom,so that the party will be stronger after all this.”
The Plateau State PDP chairman, Mr. Chris Hassan said the best option is for the elections to be conducted before a change of guard.
Hassan said they are preparing for election and as well making consultation with critical stakeholders on the best option for the party.
Speaking on the single term for Atiku, Hassan said a first term performance can guarantee his second term in office
“Your performance should earned you second term, ” Hassan said
In Niger State, the party chairman, Barr Tanko Beji said if Ayu’s stepping aside will bring about the needed cohesion for the party to win election, it is not a too much sacrifice to make.
He said “Politics is all about making compromises, politics is about value addition, politics is about give and take , if asking our national chairman to step down will bring the needed cohesion for our party to win the election why not? Because it is not about him, it is about the survival of the party and if the party finds itself in the current situation we do, no amount of sacrifice will be enough for everybody to make.
“So, if the party leadership deem it fit and that Ayu should step down for the party to survive , for the party to win election, I don’t think it is too much of a sacrifice, in any case if we win the election, the umbrella is very large to accommodate everybody, everybody would have known the sacrifice Ayu made for the party to survive and win election and he will be adequately rewarded.”
On whether former Vice President Atiku Abubakar should go for one term , he said “when we get to the bridge we will cross it, who knows who will survive it in the next four years.”
A PDP stalwart in Gombe State Hon Dahiru Kera has opined that if Ayu’s resignation is the only alternative to bring lasting solution to the lingering crisis in the PDP, that sacrifice should be done.
Kera is a media aide of the former governor of the state Ibrahim Dankwambo .
“I don’t see anything wrong in making sacrifices for the party to be united and win the 2023 general election.
“The unity in PDP ahead of 2023 general election should superceed any parsimonious and personal interest. The future of Nigeria lies in the party taking over the mantle of leadership to get the country out of the wood,” he said.
On the reported request by Wike that Atiku should serve for only one term if he emerges the president, Kera said this is purely constitutional matter but added that the fate of anybody getting second term hinges on the collective decision of the electorate.
Adadainfo reports that for now the position of Iyochia Ayu as national chairman of the PDP hangs in the balance of whether he will remain in office until after 2023 election or step aside as a way of resolving the crisis in the opposition PDP.