Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
Rising from a meeting Wednesday morning, members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who are in the camp of the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike announced they were withdrawing from the Campaign Council of the the party’s Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
The Wike camp insisted that they will not be part of the Atiku campaign activities pending the resignation of the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu.
They made this resolution in the early hours of Wednesday, in a special meeting held at Governor Wike’s private residence in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The aggrieved members vowed not to associate with the party’s campaign activities for Atiku until Ayu’s matter on resignation was settled.
THISDAY learned that participants at the meeting include some current and former governors, founding members of the party, former ministers and other leaders of the party.
The resolution it was learned was read by Chief Olabode George, a former Deputy National Chairman of the party,
Reading the resolution, Olabode George said they were deeply concerned about the division in the PDP despite the party’s age-long internal mechanism designed to guarantee inclusiveness.
They maintained that their position was not negotiable as the chairmanship of Ayu undermined the unity and constitution of the party.
They further accused Ayu of compromising the May 28 and 29 presidential primary of the party through his conduct.
According to the group “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 guarantees inclusiveness. The published presidential campaign council list translates to putting the cat before the horse.
“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”.
On his part, a former Plateau State Governor, Senator Jonah Jang said: “For a National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu to go and embrace Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tanbuwal, calling him the heroe 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”.
They said their support for Wike was for equity and justice in the party.
The Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, said: “We hope that the powers that be listen to the voice of reason and do the needful”.
A former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, said if the party intended to restructure Nigeria it should have the courage to restructure itself.
“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”.