The camp of Governor Nyesom Wike in the Peoples Democratic Party has 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 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.