- Opposing Govs lose battle to remove Ayu, given minor roles
- Rivers gov, colleagues silent
Lead opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate in the 2023 general elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, have secured a major victory with the constitution and release of the list of its Presidential Campaign Council.
That was even as most of the members of the party’s group who have been up in arms against the National Chairman, Iyiocha Ayu, have been given no lead role.
The PDP has been engrossed in crisis shortly after its National Convention in May, where Atiku emerged its standard bearer and subsequently announced Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State as his running mate, contrary to expectation that Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, who Atiku beat at the convention would be picked.
This is all that was needed for Wike and a section of the country; specifically the South which felt that it was their
Campaign council: Atiku, PDP ruffles Wike’s campturn to present the candidate in relation to the party’s zoning arrangement.
Other arrow heads of the Ayu must go group included Governors Seyi Makinde of Oyo, Samuel Ortom of Benue and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu States as well as the party’s former National Deputy Chairman, Chief Olabode George.
Makinde repeated the call that Ayu must resign as the chairman of the party for someone from the South West to take over at the South West stakeholders meeting held in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, last week Wednesday. The following day, the party’s Presidential Campaign Council, which had been delayed due to the crisis rocking the party was released.
To the chagrin of most political observers, only Makinde had a prominent role to play as the South West Coordinator while Wike, Ortom and Ikpeazu appeared as members.
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Sources in the party, who spoke with Sunday Telegraph on condition of anonymity said Makinde was on his own as they were not part of the agitation for South West’s call for the removal of Ayu as the chairman.
A source and a two – term national law maker said: “We should be careful with the call of false agitation. We never had a meeting of the South West stakeholders where we agreed that Ayu should be removed as the chairman for South West to replace him. There is a difference between personal relationships and corporate relationships. That is why members from Ondo, Ogun, Osun and Ekiti States dissociated themselves from the call for Ayu’s sack.”
Our source continued: “There is no way you can unmake the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party which you midwived. Governor Makinde and his group were the ones who put the Convention Planning Committee in place. Now that they are caught up in their own game, they should not hold anyone responsible for their miscalculation.
“Makinde nominated all the Oyo State nominees in the PCC. There is no way they can blame the North for their own miscalculation. They had thought that things would work in their favour when they were planning and scheming to become the
presidential candidate. We have to make do with the current situation and just pray and support the party in order to defeat the All Progressives Congress.”
Another source close to a former governor in the zone said that except George, all those who were agitating for the removal of Ayu have now retraced their steps, seeing the futility of their efforts as Ayu has come to stay as the chairman except the party’s constitution is amended.
Our source said: “They were just looking for sentiment to hold on to. They have boxed the party into this corner. Their selfish ambition has brought them to this pass. They schemed and brought someone from the North. It was one of the loyalists of Wike – Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, who chaired the committee that threw the contest open. Where were they? Is it the fault of the North? Also, do not forget that most of them involved in this agitation are governors, who are serving out their terms. They cannot leave for other parties as their interests would best be served by remaining and working for the victory of the party (PDP)”
Yet another source said that, “Atiku played a smart one on them when he threw the question of Ayu’s removal to them that ‘it is doable but must be through the constitution of the PDP.”
Our source said: “Even if they remove Ayu, he will only be replaced by someone from the same zone he is from. So head or tail, they lose the battle. So, they have to swallow and take the current situation they have found themselves.”