Embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, says only the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party has the power to suspend him and not the executive committee of the Igyorov ward of the party in Gboko Local Government Area.
In a statement by his spokesman, Simon Imobo-Tswam, Ayu stated that he has not been suspended by his ward.
And without stating so in many words, the head of the main opposition party appeared to be pointing accusing fingers in the direction of Makurdi, the Benue State capital, where the state’s seat of power is located.
Recall that the state’s chief executive officer, Governor Samuel Ortom, was asked last week to face the disciplinary committee by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP. Others like ex- governors Ayo Fayose (Ekiti), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), former Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim, were suspended from the party.
In what appeared to be a reprisal action, Ayu was suspended by the PDP of his ward in Benue State.
Meanwhile, according to the party’s national chairman, some members of the ward executive (Exco) are only “being teleguided by political gamblers to cause mischief and nothing more.”
He adds: “For starters, Article 57(7) of the PDP Constitution as Amended in 2017 expressly prohibits any organ of the party or executive committee of the party at the Ward or State Level from taking any disciplinary measure against any member of the party’s National Executive Committee.
“The purported suspension is, therefore, an exercise in futility as it derives its strength majorly from gross illiteracy, ignorance, gambling and desperation. It has only mischief, drama and propaganda value.
“But more than this, the so-called suspension letter was written by an illiterate before hand, and only given to the coerced members to sign somewhere in Makurdi.
“This is why the original date is typexed and 24 March imposed on it. And this is also why it states that the presidential/NASS and Governorship/State Assembly elections held on 25th and 18th March, 2023 respectively.
“From what we know, document itself is fraudulent as the signatures of the Ward Executives were forged or obtained under duress.
The chairman, his deputy and legal adviser didn’t sign. The 14th person on the list didn’t sign too. She was at NKST Ambighir for the Holy Communion.
“In fact, the same applies for Nos. 5, 8 and 16. At the time they were supposed to be in Makurdi with the other coerced, intimidated and induced members of the Exco, they were actually in their villages, going about their normal businesses.
“Up till now, about nine members of the Ward Exco are still being held hostage in a location in Makurdi for obvious reasons. And expectedly, their mobile numbers have been switched off. It is instructive.
“The general public is hereby advised to ignore rumours to this heinous effect. Those behind the plot are only investing in expensive illusions.”
After being sent to the disciplinary committee,, Governor Samuel Ortom said the NWC of the party was acting in contempt of a subsisting court order by referring him to the disciplinary commitee of the party for alleged anti party activities.
He spoke as Rivers State governor, and prime mover of the Group of five PDP governors (G5), Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, said Ortom will not appear before National Disciplinary Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over his alleged involvement in anti-party activities.
Wike also described the suspension of former Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose and others for anti-party activities by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP as a nullity.
Governor Ortom said it is contemptous of the leadership of the PDP to disregard the court order which barred the party or any organ of the party from issuing any disciplinary measure against him.
According to the Governor in a statement from his office, “the case is pending in court and there is an order of injunction restraining any organ of the party from carrying out any disciplinary action against the governor. This Case is adjourned to 18th April 2023 and so it is baffling to see such a statement coming from the national leadership of the party.
“I think the national leadership of our great party is losing its sense of direction. Instead of the leadership to sit back and think of ways… to rebuild the party from the ruins of the defeat from the just concluded elections, they are going about chasing imaginary shadows.
“In any case, the first person the party should refer to the disciplinary committee should be the national chairman of the party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu. The national chairman lost his polling unit, lost his ward, local government, and even the state.
“As if that is not enough, there are strong indications that the national chairman was involved in anti-party activities in Benue State by working for the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, just to get at me because of my principled stand against certain aspects of the decisions of the national leadership of the party.”
The Governor says the party should allow itself to be ridiculed by some individuals who are bent on destroying the party for their selfish gains.
In his own comments in Government House, Port Harcourt on Thursday while reacting to NWC decision to refer governor Ortom to the party’s disciplinary committee and suspension of Fayoye and others, Wike said, “I want to state clearly and let members of the party and Nigerians hear it clearly, the National Working Committee made up of Dr Iyorchia Ayu, who they say is the chairman of the party; Sam Anyanwu, the national secretary and other members of NWC, cannot suspend Ayo Fayose, not to talk about referring governor Ortom to national disciplinary committee.”
He explained that the decision of the NWC to refer governor Ortom to the party’s National Disciplinary Committee is the height of all insult.
“Referring a governor to your so-called national disciplinary committee is the height of all insult, and we will not take it. Therefore, be ready for whatever you see as far as this our party is concerned.
“Governor Ortom, who has stood firm for the unity of this country, Governor Ortom who has come out openly to say that Nigeria must be one is not the type you will say you’ll refer to that your kangaroo committee.”
The Rivers State governor said if anyone deserves to be suspended from the party, that person is Dr Iyorchia Ayu, who he accused of contravening the PDP constitution on the zoning of elective and appointive offices.
“If there is any person deserving suspension it should be you (Ayu), who played anti-party by refusing to obey the constitution of the party on zoning of political offices as is required. So, whoever tells you can suspend people, please tell the person that he is not serious.”
He further added, “if you are talking of anti-party it is you who could not even deliver your unit, deliver your ward that is involved. Because of the fraudulent activities you are involved in, people have lost hope in you. That is why you cannot win your unit, win your ward.”
Governor Wike cautioned Ayu and the NWC to desist from threatening the G-5 governors and members of the Integrity Group with suspension. According to him, Ayu has by his recent action opened up a new chapter of political war in the party.
“You cannot cage any of us. Ortom will not appear before any of your so called disciplinary committee. Ayodele Fayose will also never appear before any disciplinary committee.”
Former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, also berated the NWC and Ayu for suspending him, while explaining why he supported the All Progressives Congress (APC) to win the gubernatorial election in his home state of Ebonyi.