BREAKING: ‘Ayu must resign’ – Wike’s group pulls out of Atiku’s campaign council

Members of the Wike Group in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have pulled out of the Atiku Presidential Campaign activities after a stormy session in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Arising from the meeting in the early hours of Wednesday, September 21, 2022, they insisted that the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu must resign his position as the chairman of the party if Governor Wike’s group must partake in the Presidential campaign activities of the party.

Recall, that the PDP has been enmeshed in internal crisis since emergence of Atiku as the party’s standard flagbearer in the coming general elections.

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Atiku emerged the winner of the presidential primary after scoring 371 votes to beat his closest rival, the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, who polled 237.

The aftermath of the primaries resulted in the rift between Atiku and Wike after the appointment of Delta State Governor, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate.

This has also led to the agitation for Iyorchia Ayu resignation by members of the party who are mostly from the south.

They claimed that power is more concentrated in the north and for them to throw their support behind Atiku, the PDP national chairman who is from the north must resign.

Amid the crisis, Walid Jubrin announced his resignation as the party’s Board of Trustee chairman and has been replaced by former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara.

The members of the party sympathetic to Wike insisted that there would be no deal with Atiku until Ayu vacated his office to allow an acting Chairman from the South lead the campaign of Atiku.

The aggrieved party stalwarts comprising founding members of the party, Governors, former Ministers and other leaders of the party made their position known in a resolution read by a former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George.

They maintained that their position was not negotiable as the chairmanship of Ayu undermined the unity and constitution of the party.

Reading the resolution, George said: “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”.

They further accused Ayu of compromising the May 28 and 29 presidential primary of the party through his conduct.

A former Plateau Governor, Senator Jonah Jang likened Ayu to a bad referee, who assisted one side to score a goal during a football match and later blew the whistle.

Jang said: “For a National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu to go and embrace Sokoto Governor, Aminu Tanbuwal, calling him the hero 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 neither because he lost the presidential primary nor because he was not chosen as the Vice-presidential running mate but because of equity and justice in the party.

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 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”.

Oyo Governor, Seyi Makinde, said: “We hope that the powers that be listen to the voice of reason and do the needful”.

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