The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) worsened Thursday as the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, insisted that the National Chairman of the party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu must resign.
Wike’s statement came 24 hours after Ayu lashed those calling for his resignation, describing them as kids.
Daily Trust reports that there have been calls by the camp of the Rivers State governor that Ayu should step down as national chairman to balance the equation in the party. The crisis rocking the party revolves around Wike, who came second during the presidential primary of the party won by the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.
With the position taken by the two stalwarts of the leading opposition political party, there is no end in sight to the ongoing crisis.
Replying to Ayu’s statement during the inauguration of road projects in Ikwerre LGA of Rivers State, performed by Chief Olabode George, former South-West Deputy National Chairman of PDP, Wike said the recent show of arrogance, insincerity, lack of integrity and dishonesty by Ayu could jeopardise the electoral fortunes of the party in the 2023 general elections.
He said rather than unite all aggrieved members and galvanise them for the 2023 elections, Ayu has shown ingratitude by describing elected governors of states, who supported his quest as party chairman, as children.
“Dr Ayu said we are children. Yes, the children brought you to be chairman of the party. The children brought you from the gutter and made you chairman. Ayu, you were impeached as Senate president. Ayu was sacked by Obasanjo in his administration twice. Arrogance cannot take you anywhere. Now, we have seen that you don’t want the party to win the election, we’ll help you,” he said.
The governor dismissed the claim by Ayu that he is one of the founding members of the PDP. Wike said that Ayu abandoned the PDP at one time, moved to another party and therefore cannot have equal stakes with those who had stayed back to rebuild the party.
“A man who is inconsistent and ran away from the party, telling those of us who spent our time, sleepless night to make sure this party does not go down that we are children. Now, you have the temerity, the audacity to tell us we are children. We will tell you that you are the prodigal father.
“Nigerians have seen how ungrateful some of you can be, and that is why also Nigerians must be careful. If we give this man power, if we give these people power, are you sure they will also be grateful to Nigerians? As you make your bed, so you will lie on it. I have been quiet thinking that we will reconcile. Now that you have brought in arrogance to say you were elected, where did you campaign? Show me where your poster was, anywhere in this state,” he said.
When contacted last night if they have anything to say on Wike’s latest vituperations, Ayu’s spokesman, Simon Imobo said the chairman has no comment.
“The chairman will not say anything, please. There is no comment,” Imobo said.
On his part, the spokesperson of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, said the leaders of the opposition party are united in their resolve to rescue the country from the misrule of the APC. Addressing journalists, Ologunagba said “We have differences. We don’t have crisis. We have disagreements on choice. There is no crisis in PDP. We have differences, which is in human nature. Issues are part of the family.”
Ologunagba explained that what obtains presently in the party are differences among some party leaders, which is normal in every human endeavour.
The PDP spokesman noted every member of the party, including Wike, is in agreement that the major task before the PDP is to rescue the country in the 2023 general elections.
He added that the PDP is going ahead with its programmes, stating that the Presidential Campaign Council would soon be unveiled.
Nat’l chair case must be settled before campaign – Bode George
On his part, Chief Olabode George said that the issue of Ayu’s case must be addressed before the commencement of the campaign for the 2023 general elections.
“Party members from the South are already feeling alienated. So, before we start the presidential campaign at the end of this month, the national chairman must go to the South. That is what Governor Wike is saying and as a life member of the Board of Trustees of our party, I support this position 100 per cent.
“Statutorily, it is the national chairman who hands over the party’s flag to our presidential candidate. How will party members from the South feel when they see that at all political rallies southerners have no public political representation?”
He urged party members to be united in their determination to ensure that the PDP returns to the Presidential Villa in Abuja by May 29, 2023.
Ayu is a mole – Adoke
A former Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, described as unfortunate the statement of the national chairman, saying they have every reason to believe he is a mole. Adoke, who belongs to the Wike’s camp in the party, said “It is unfortunate he tried to blame us who are working tirelessly to ensure peace and work for the success of the party.
“It is obvious he is not interested in the party winning the election. He is more interested in retaining his position as the national chairman, no matter the implications.
“We have every reason to believe he is a mole in the party who is working for the party to fail. He is not interested in Atiku winning the election. It is all about his self-preservation.”
We must unite to defeat APC – Makarfi
Speaking on the crisis rocking the party, a former chairman of the party, Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi said for the party to defeat the ruling APC, come the 2023 general election, the feuding camps must bury their swords.
In an interview aired on Voice of America (VOA) Hausa Service on Thursday, he emphasised the need for unity in the leading opposition party.
“This election is about two parties, PDP and APC. If in the North you vote for a party that is not PDP, you only strengthen APC. If in the South you vote for a party, not PDP, especially in the PDP-dominated areas, you have reduced the strength of the PDP and increased APC strength. So, you will continue to suffer because the change you are aspiring for will not be achieved because you have divided the votes,” he said.
Wike’s outburst uncalled for, but … – Fage
Commenting, renowned political scientist, Professor Kamilu Sani Fage of the Bayero University, Kano (BUK) observed that Wike’s outburst was uncalled for, looking at his political trajectory and the contribution of the PDP.
“I remember that PDP did all for him and he was a local government chairman, he became a minister and also became a governor under the platform of PDP. Now that he lost at the beat, he should have been a real democrat and accepted the verdict of the electorate. Be that as it may, there is a need for Atiku to try his best to see that he is able to pacify Wike and bring him to go along with the ticket,” he said.
Fage added that “No matter what, in a democratic system, even if you lose one person, it is a huge loss for the party not to talk of a person like Wike who contributed immensely financially to the party, who now have supporters not only in Rivers State but throughout Nigeria. You know some governors and former governors are with him and top PDP leaders are with him.
“And secondly, Rivers State is one of the largest in terms of voting and it has been solidly behind PDP. It will also have an impact on South West and South East. So, there is a need for the presidential candidate to try to see that things work out; at least to see that the party approaches the election as a united entity, not a divided party.”