The Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) former vice president Atiku Abubakar has no difficulty, according to Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State, but Senator Iyioricha Ayu must give up his post as the PDP’s national chairman.
Wike sent this after Atiku changed the dates of his campaigns so that new emissaries could be sent to the troubled Rivers governor to address the ongoing party crisis.
Five governors and other prominent party members who made up Wike’s campaign boycotted the campaign council because Iyorchia Ayu, the national chairman, would not step down.
According to the publicly available campaign schedule, Atiku and the campaign train were scheduled to visit Kebbi State on Wednesday and Zamfara today (Thursday).
However, the campaign has been delayed for the two states as the party makes more of an effort to get Wike’s camp to support the Atiku initiative.
Speaking Thursday at his private residence in Rumueprikom, Rivers, where he was hosting Cross River State PDP candidates for governor, senator, the House of Representatives, the House of Assembly, and local government party chairs, Wike claimed that attempts to amicably resolve the crisis roiling the PDP had been thwarted by “rent seekers” within the party.
The governor claimed that no one could persuade him to change his mind on giving Southern Nigeria the PDP’s national chairmanship position.
The governor explained that some vested interests, whom he referred to as “hyenas and rent seekers,” had remained obstinate and opposed to justice, fairness, and equity in the party during the meeting, which was attended by the party’s South-South national vice chairman, Chief Dan Orbih.
“The presidential primaries are over, and we have a candidate. Does Wike advocate removing the presidential candidate? Is Wike requesting the vice presidential candidate’s removal? What are you asking me for, then? All I’m saying—and all I’ll keep saying—is that since you took the presidency, give us (the national) chairperson.
Nobody wants to be truthful. You will ask why he is doing this if I suggest removing the vice presidential candidate and the presidential candidate.
Wike argued that the fact that the PDP presidential candidate, the national chairman, and the director general of the presidential campaign council are all from the north makes him unable to defend the status quo
He claimed that continuing to deny the South the national chairmanship would only lead to conflict.
He (the national chairman) declared that he would retire if the presidential candidate was from the north, indicating that he had this in mind. Now that the situation has materialized, you should not resign. And they are advising you to speak with Wike.
“I accepted the vice presidential candidate, so what’s the issue again? I accepted the presidential candidate. You need to do your part. All I’m saying is, let the South have something. You cannot be the campaign’s director general, national chairman, and presidential candidate.
The governor argued that it is hypocritical for certain PDP members to criticize the Muslim-Muslim APC ticket while advocating for a specific section of the nation to continue to hold the presidency for an additional eight years.
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He emphasized that the PDP follow the principles of its constitution, which expressly suggests that when a presidential candidate arises from the north, the national chairman should be from the south, for the purpose of all-encompassing peace.
The governor asserted that the call for the PDP chairman to be zoned to the South would continue until justice, fairness, and equity were established inside the party.
“The power game is currently being played. Forget it if you don’t have it right away. You are a fool if you believe anyone who tells you that (Iyorchia) Ayu should quit after the election has been held. The decision to proceed at this time. When the election is decided in February, before the president is sworn in, the presidential candidate, national chairman, and campaign leader will sit during this time.
Prior to the general elections in 2023, the governor announced that he had started running for office full-time. He added that anyone attempting to unseat him and his friends would be doing so at their own risk.