The leadership of the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has gone into overdrive following the withdrawal of many of its prominent members from the Presidential Campaign Council, holding meetings and giving assurances it would resolve its crisis before campaigns begin.
The issue remains the chairmanship of Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, which a group led by Governors Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, are insisting must be reviewed. They want him to resign or be removed for a southerner since the party’s presidential flagbearer, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, hails from the northern region like him.
A national newspaper had reported marathon meetings by the National Working Committee, but elsewhere it has emerged that the governors have been meeting virtually and with other arms of the party’s leadership to come up with a solution.
Sokoto state governor, Aminu Tambuwal, said on Thursday that governors on the party’s platform and the Board of Trustees (BoT) are working out a solution.
After a meeting with the BoT, he said, “I will like to thank the BoT Chairman, members and his team for this very important initiative. We all know that the BoT is the conscience of the party and whenever there are issues of this nature, the Board of Trustees steps in, it is part of their functions in the party, constitutionally speaking.
“We have engaged with them and I believe that what they are likely to come up with will be a solution to the problem we have.
“Be rest assured that as governors of the party , we are also talking to ourselves on the way forward and very soon the Governors Forum will meet and we will come up with what we feel should be the solution and the way forward for the party.
“We are all interested in working together for an objective and that objective is for the party and Nigerians of goodwill, because we believe we have had enough of the government of APC.
“We are working to send out APC and their government come May 2023, it is a collective responsibility. Of course we must apply balms, since we all believe that what we have is not good enough, we must work together to solve our internal problems, forge ahead and prosecute the electoral battle and by the grace of God we will have victory”.
Chairman of BoT, Senator Adulphus Wabara, announced the board would meet Ayu, Atiku and his running mate, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa on the way forward.
He said: “Our aim is to get into the Aso Villa, for PDP to get into the Aso Villa in 2023, we need every body to come on board.
“We are still moving around, in six days time the campaign will be inaugurated. We hope and pray that before then Nigerians will see a more united PDP. We are doing this not for us, not for the Chairman of the Governors Forum or anybody, we are doing this for Nigerians.
“Nigerians are looking up to the PDP to deliver them from what we are experiencing with the ruling party as we speak.
“We are going to meet the National Chairman of the party, we will also meeting our candidate Atiku Abubakar, we are also meeting the Vice Presidential candidate Ifeanyi Okowa, who will call upon us any moment.
“We have also met with some of the governors. We started from my state, Okezie Ikpeazu, we moved to Enugu to meet Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, from there we met Seyi Makinde of Oyo, we met with Jerry Gana, we are really digging around to find solutions.
“We are looking for solutions for all of us to come together and win the election in flying colours.”
Asked to respond to the decision of Wike and his camp to pull out of the Atiku campaign council, Wabara said that they will speak with Wike after addressing the nation on Friday.
“After Wike’s address tomorrow we will speak with him. Wike is a member of the Board of Trustees. We have made attempts to meet with him, but I believe he has been very busy.”
Recall that the aggrieved group in the Peoples Democratic Party announced its withdrawal from participating in the presidential campaign of the party for the 2023 elections.
After a meeting that lasted seven hours, starting at about 7 p.m. on Tuesday night to past 2 a.m. Wednesday morning at the private residence of Wike in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, the group officially announced its withdrawal at a press briefing.
Announcing the withdrawal, party chieftain and BoT member from Lagos, Chief Bode George said: “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 guarantee inclusiveness.
“The published presidential campaign council list translates to putting the cart 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.”
In his own comments, Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, said: “We hope that the powers that be listen to the voice of reason and do the needful”.
Former Plateau Governor, Senator Jonah Jang, who was also at the meeting said it appeared the outcome of the primary was preplanned to short-change the other contestants.
“For a National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu to go and embrace Sokoto State 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.”
Former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, said, “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”.
Members of the group said none of them will participate in whatever capacity in the campaign council unless the National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, resigns for a southern candidate.
Others at the meeting were former Governors Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo, Ayo Fayose of Ekiti, Donald Duke of Cross River, Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe, former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, South-South Chairman of the PDP, Dan Orbih; former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chibudom Nwuche; Senator Suleiman Nazif, Nnenna Ukeje