More trouble for PDP as Atiku insists he can’t force Ayu to resign

The crisis ravaging the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, assumed an ominous dimension, yesterday, with the presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, telling the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike’s camp that he cannot force Senator Iyorchia Ayu to resign as national chairman.

Atiku, who spoke in response to the withdrawal of the Wike camp from the PDP Presidential Campaign Council over Ayu’s retention, urged them to reconsider their stand.

Wike has the backing of former Deputy National Chairman, Chief Olabode George; Professor Jerry Gana; Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State; and former Gombe governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, among others.

They took the decision of pulling out of the party’s presidential campaign council at a meeting in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Tuesday night, saying Ayu must quit because he allegedly compromised the party’s last presidential primary.

This happened on a day immediate past National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, disowned a case against the party in an Abuja court, just as Chairman of the Board of Trustees, BoT, Senator Adolphus Wabara, assured that the crisis would soon be over after meeting with Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, who said he was with Wike and cautioned the party against treating people as trash.

Meanwhile, former Aviation Minister and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, has counselled Wike to leave the PDP and join forces with the Presidential Candidate of the ruling APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in the 2023 poll.

I can’t force Ayu  to resign — Atiku

Urging Wike and others to reconsider their withdrawal from his campaign council for Nigeria’s sake, Atiku Abubakar, said he was shocked by their withdrawal.

In a statement he signed, the PDP presidential candidate said his surprise stemmed from the fact that except for Rivers State, all other states nominated persons who were included in the list of council members.

He noted that his attention was drawn to the press conference in which the aggrieved party leaders “declared that they are withdrawing, forthwith, from the Presidential Campaign Council set up by our party to judiciously plan and prosecute the general elections set to hold in February and March 2023, on the one hand; and reiterated their earlier calls for the resignation or removal from office of the national chairman of our party, Senator Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, on the other hand.”

He continued: “The people that addressed the press must have their reasons for withdrawing from the Presidential Campaign Council, and I will not speculate as to what those reasons may be. Personally, I am quite surprised with this withdrawal because, as I have been informed by officials of our party, apart from the Rivers State chapter of the PDP, all the remaining states of the federation submitted names of people they wanted to be included in the Presidential Campaign Council.

“On the calls for the resignation or removal from office of our national chairman, however, I must reiterate what I have said severally in public and in private; the decision for Dr Iyorchia Ayu to resign from office is personal to Dr Ayu and, neither I nor anyone else can make that decision for him.

“As to the calls for the removal of Dr. Ayu from office, however, I will state that, as a committed democrat and firm believer in the rule of law and democratic tenets, and our party being one set up, organized and regulated by law and our constitution, it is my absolute belief that everything that we do in our party must be done in accordance with, and conformity to, the law and our constitution.

“If Dr. Ayu is to be removed from office, it must be done in accordance with the laws that set out the basis for such removal. In any event, you will all recall that the very body that is empowered by law to initiate this removal from office has already passed a vote of confidence in him.“

Atiku noted that the issue at hand which should be of concern to all lovers of Nigeria is that “now, our nation is currently in the throes of a multi-dimensional crisis encompassing insecurity, economic meltdown, disunity and mutual mistrust and educational dislocations, to mention a few.”

He further said, “I have a plan to address these issues and I have, graciously, been given the ticket to lead our great party in next year’s presidential elections, with the singular mandate to come and lead the efforts to cure these ills.

“It is in this light that I have reached out to every single member of our great party to join me in the massive undertaking required to reset the ship of state and help rebuild our country.

“In this light, therefore, I will urge those members of our party that have stated their resolve to withdraw from the Presidential Campaign Council to have a rethink, retrace their steps, and join us in these efforts.”


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