… as BOT chairman offers to resign as peace offering
The days of Dr Iyorchia Ayu as the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appear to be numbered ahead of Wednesday’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting as many party leaders are in support of shoving him aside to make peace in the party.
The NEC meeting is also expected to ratify the composition of the party’s campaign council for the forthcoming presidential election.
It was learnt that members of the National Working Committee (NWC) from the South have joined the calls for Ayu to resign his position as a condition for the reconciliation process, it was learnt yesterday.
PDP governors led by Nyesom Wike of Rivers State have been agitating for Ayu’s removal in line with the party’s power rotation principle between the North and South following their angst over the fallout of the party primary in which Atiku Abubakar emerged as presidential candidate ahead of Wike and others, and went ahead to pick Delta State governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as running mate over Wike who was tipped by party leaders for the position.
The call for Ayu’s sack took a wider dimension as some southern and northern leaders, like PDP BoT member Chief Bode George and former Plateau State governor, Jonah Jang, supported the call for Ayu to quit
On his part, Ayu has insisted on serving his full four-year tenure.
The situation, however, assumed a fresh dimension yesterday as most members of the NWC at the meeting presided by Ayu were said to be leaning on the national chairman to leave the office for peace to reign.
It was learnt that 15 out of the 19-member NWC want Ayu’s removal from office, blaming him for escalating the crisis rather than pursuing a peaceful resolution of the matter, citing his recent provocative reactions to the issues at stake.
Another source said the NWC meeting did not end on a cordial note following the suggestion to Ayu to resign. The reaction to the call for his resignation prompted Southern members of the NWC to stage a walk-out from the meeting in protest.
When asked, however, the national publicity secretary of PDP, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, said Ayu’s resignation was not discussed during the NWC meeting.
Ologunagba said the NWC discussed arrangements for the Caucus and NEC meeting.
Ologunagba said that the major issues discussed at the meeting were the reconciliation of members of the party, the composition of the campaign council, and the situation of the party in Osun State.
Meanwhile, some presidential aspirants were absent at a consolidation meeting called by the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in Abuja.
Those absent at the meeting are Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel, former Senate President Pius Anyim, Sokoto State governor Aminu Tambuwal, and former Senate President Bukola Saraki.
The presidential aspirants, who attended the meeting, include Dele Momodu, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, Tari Oliver, Charles Ugwu and Kalu Chikwendu.
On Tuesday, the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin, is alleged to have offered to resign from his position as a peace offering for the resolution of the crisis in the party.
Speaking on this development, a member of the BoT said, “He told some of us, even though we appealed to him to be patient.”
The BoT chairman, who offered to resign for peace to reign in the party, had said he had only six months left in his tenure, which he was ready to sacrifice.
Calls and text messages sent to Jibrin were not responded to as of press time.
The discord in the party manifested yesterday as Wike and his colleagues were absent at the caucus meeting which precedes the NEC meeting.
The caucus meeting is usually regarded as the main meeting before the NEC, which ratifies decisions taken at the caucus meeting. While Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom was away in London, Governors Wike and Seyi Makinde were in Rivers State.
Some of those who attended were Atiku, Ayu, Sokoto State governor Aminu Tambuwal, his Bayelsa State counterpart, Douye Diri, and Bauchi State governor Bala Mohammed. Deputy governors of Edo and Benue States were also present.
For now Dr Ayu remains the chairman of the People Democratic Party, but that could change any time ahead of the 2023 general election.