… collect signatures, mobilise NEC members for party Chairman’s removal
Seven state governors of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party may have begun moves aimed at ending the raging crisis rocking the party.
Specifically, the PDP governors, First News learnt, have renewed their to plot to remove the party’s National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, from office.
Towards this end, the governors, it was gathered, have begun to mobilise members of the PDP National Executive Committee to join in the quest to achieve a united front ahead the 2023 general elections.
The governors, sources said, may demand a NEC meeting any moment from now. As part of their preparations for the NEC meeting, it was learnt that they had started collecting signatures of the NEC members for the purpose of getting the required number for Ayu’s sack at the proposed NEC meeting.
On Friday, a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) warned that Ayu may lead the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and the party itself to doom in the 2023 presidential and general elections.
Adoke warned Atiku to smell the coffee and take charge, if he wants to win the election.
On Thursday, former PDP National Chairman, Chief Olabode George, had cautioned Ayu against making unguarded statements capable of escalating the raging crisis in the main opposition party.
George backed Wike’s insistence that Ayu should resign, saying the Rivers governor was only interested in equity and justice.
Wike himself took a fresh swipe at the PDP national chairman, describing him as a “prodigal father.”
But the PDP Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, appealed for calm among warring leaders in the interest of the party.
Party sources, however, said that the main grouse of the PDP governors against Ayu were his comments and diatribes against Wike, Governors Samuel Ortom (Benue), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu).
Commenting on this latest development in the PDP, a chieftain of the party, who pleaded not to be identified, said, “Ayu has reached his wit’s end; the governors have started mobilising NEC members to remove him.
“The governors may request a NEC meeting very soon. There is no way he can lead a united party with his bias. With a divided house, we may lose the 2023 presidential election.
“You will see what will happen soon. Ayu cannot survive this recklessness, no matter those who are backing him. Seven PDP governors are behind Wike and they can cause a quake in the party.
“With the way things are, Atiku has a choice to stick to Ayu and lose the support of most of the PDP governors.
“Ayu went overboard by describing some of the governors as children. The same ‘children’, especially governors Samuel Ortom and Nyesom Wike, installed him as the national chairman of PDP.
“At the time he wanted to be our party’s chairman, he was saying ‘Yes Sir’ to these so-called ‘children’.”
Wike and George chided Ayu for describing governors as children.
Wike expressed his anger that Ayu in his recent remarks on the crisis in the party described members of his team, including governors Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Samuel Ortom (Benue) Seyi Makinde (Oyo) as children who did not know how the PDP was formed in 1998.
He said part of the reasons Ayu had refused to step down as PDP chairman was the N14billion the party raised after primaries, saying he was desperate about being the manager of the funds.
Wike, who further described Ayu as a prodigal father, said Nigerians would not be convinced to vote PDP in 2023 with Ayu still in the Chairman’s seat.
Wike said, “It is unfortunate today someone said where were you when we founded the party? That those of you who said the right thing must be done are boys, children.
“You can imagine what power can do. You can imagine high ingratitude; how people can be ingrate in their lives.
“I thought as a chairman of a party, who wants to win elections, your business is to bring peace to your party. Your business is not to divide your party. Your business is not to show arrogance to your party.
“Ayu said we are children. Yes, the children brought you to be chairman of the party. The children made you chairman. Ayu, you were impeached as the Senate President. Ayu, you were sacked by Obasanjo in his administration two times.
“Arrogance cannot take you anywhere. Now, we have seen that you don’t want the party to win the election, we will help you; these children you say we are, these boys we are that brought you from nothing, I say from nothing.
“Ayu, you said you founded this party, but you left the party in 2007. You founded a company, you left the company. People stood and brought the company to what it is today.
“You have no moral right to still claim that you founded that company. You left with your shares. Other shareholders have come in.
“You must convince Nigerians that you have integrity. You are the driver that will drive the vehicle to convey us to where we are looking for. If the driver has no integrity, if the driver cannot show honesty, how do you convince Nigerians?
“You said when so so thing happens, I will do so so thing. Now, what you said has happened. Why not show as a man of honour, as a man of integrity by telling Nigerians: ‘What I promised you I would do, now I have come to do’.
“If now you told Nigerians something and would not do it, is it when you enter into power that you will do it? On your own volition, you were the one who spoke to Nigerians.”
Recalling how they fought for the zoning of the PDP chairmanship to the North against all the odds and how they chose Ayu as national chairman, Wike said, “We are the ones who championed that the chairmanship should be zoned to the North though most of my colleagues from the South refused it. People like our leader, Bode George, are here. He was one of those who said, look, this is what ought to be done and should be done.
“Ayu, where were you? You were sleeping in your house. You were calling me virtually every second per second, thanking me. Haba! You said I am a boy, Seyi Makinde is a boy, Ortom, your brother, who signed on your behalf, is a boy. Abia is a boy. Enugu is a boy.
“Today, all those who brought you as a chairman are all boys. Nigerians have seen how ungrateful some of you can be. That is why Nigerians also need to be careful.
“If you give this man power, if you give these people power, are you sure they will also be grateful to Nigerians?
“As you make your bed so you lie on it. It is not me. I have kept quiet thinking that we will reconcile.
“Now that you have brought arrogance to say you were elected, where did you campaign? Show me where your poster was anywhere in this state.
“Even though we gave you money to go and do poster, you put it in your pocket. It is unfortunate.”
The Rivers governor also stated that after the inauguration of his projects, he would tell to Nigerians what Ayu told them, adding that characters like the embattled PDP chairman should not be entrusted with power.
He said, “I am not interested in the chairmanship. What I am interested in is fulfilling what you said. That is all. Stop using Nigerians.
“You think you are smart. You used us. No problem. Nigerians are waiting. Nigerians are watching.
“For us, let nobody bother. We are not people who are afraid to fight. When the fight comes, we will fight and we will win at the end of the day.”
Commenting on the main reason behind Ayu’s refusal to resign, Wike said, “Because of simple money from the primaries. We made about N14billion. That is why ‘I won’t resign’. Nothing more, just the N14billion in the account, nothing. Let me preside over the expenditure. That is all.”
Wike, who said Ayu and his camp would not canvass for votes in Rivers State, urged the party chairman to deliver his state.
He said, “You can’t come to Rivers State and take our votes. You can’t. Go and deliver Benue first. You say your governor was a boy. I don’t know why all those who left the party are those claiming to be founders of the party. I can’t understand it.
“Look at people like Bode George who have suffered. Sometimes they take away the state working committee. He doesn’t have the structure, but he has never left the party one day. Never. He has remained in the party since 1998 till now.
“We will tell you that you are a prodigal father. If you like hire all the social media and media moguls and write whatever you can write, it will not save you.”
George on his part chided Ayu, saying the chairman’s remarks were enough indications of his low level of maturity.
George said if the PDP must win the next election, it must be united, warning that the current situation in the party favoured its division.
The party stalwart advised the PDP to correct the current injustice in the PDP before the campaigns kick off by ensuring Ayu’s replacement with a Southern chairman.
He said, “You heard when a serving national chairman of our party was calling elected governors children. Does he think that children don’t grow? We need to watch our language. It shows me that he is immature.
“As we prepare to begin campaigning for the 2023 general elections at the end of this month, we must be united in our determination to ensure the PDP returns to the presidential villa in Abuja.
“But we can only go back to Aso Rock if we are united and not divided. Some people are abusing Governor Wike.
“Those abusing him, as an elder and father in this party, I am directing them to stop immediately because Governor Wike is only fighting for justice, for equity and fairness in our party.
“He is not only a strong pillar in this party but a mobiliser, a financier and an actualiser. Since he joined the PDP, he has not left this party.
“What we are saying is that the issue of the National Chairman of PDP must be addressed before the commencement of the campaign for the 2023 general election.
“It is an antithesis and against the norm and culture of our party that our presidential candidate, our national chairman and the chairman of the board of trustees will come from one section of the country.
“Party members from the south are already feeling alienated. PDP is not a private company. Before we start the presidential campaign at the end of this month, the national chairman must go to the South.
“This is all Governor Wike is saying and as a life member of the Board of Trustees of our party, I support this position 100 per cent.
“Statutorily, it is the national chairman who hands over the party’s flag to our presidential candidate. How will the party members of the South feel when they see that at all political rallies, Southerners have no public political representation?
“This constitutes a fundamental flaw and lack of inclusiveness, which will be diametrically opposed to the original objectives of the founding fathers of our party. Maybe, if Ayu had remained perpetually in the party he would have learnt the rules much better.
“Governor Wike is not saying anything out of anger. He is only telling the truth to power. We do not want to have a Northern PDP and a Southern PDP.
“We don’t want to go into elections divided. That is why the national chairmanship must come to the South now as a matter of urgency. We are not begging for it. We demand it because it is our right.”
But the PDP publicity secretary expressed confidence that the PDP would remain a united party inspite of the current leadership crisis it’s experiencing.
He assured that PDP stakeholders were working hard to overcome the challenges and douse the rising tension in the party.
Ologunagba told newsmen in Abuja that the disagreements were just like the normal issues human societies usually experience.
The PDP spokesman said, “Disagreements are part of daily living, even among families, but which are usually resolved through constant discussions.
“As a party, we recognise that we have differences in views and opinions. But we won’t refuse to do what is expected of us as a party because we have issues over disagreements.
“The PDP recognises and respects the contributions of every member and stakeholder, including of course Governor Wike.
“Emotions and interests are involved but human nature is dynamic. All issues will be resolved very soon.
“We are together; do we have differences? Yes. We have disagreements but we have the capacity to resolve our differences.”