Atiku-Wike face-off: PDP NEC fixes date to decide Ayu’s fate

Atiku-Wike face-off: PDP NEC fixes date to decide Ayu’s fate



•Atiku, Wike, Ayu

The resolve of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to back the embattled National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, to lead it to next year’s elections will be put to test on Thursday.

The PDP’s Board of Trustees (BoT) and the National Executive Committee (NEC) will meet on that day to decide whether Ayu should remain in office in the face of the crisis sparked by his refusal to step down following the emergence of Atiku as the party’s flag bearer.

Ayu had promised shortly before he was picked unopposed at the party’s national convention in Abuja last October to resign in the event of another northerner becoming PDP’s presidential candidate.


Ayu’s exit is the principal demand of Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike and his supporters for peace to reign in the party.


But the PDP chair dared Wike and co on Wednesday, vowing he was going nowhere.


“When we started PDP, these children were not around. They are children who do not know why we formed the party,” he said on the Hausa Service of the BBC, mentioning no name in particular.


He added: “We will not allow any individual to destabilise our party.”


The Nation gathered yesterday that stakeholders of the party, worried by the festering crisis and the threat it poses to its cohesion ahead of the coming elections, have decided to take the bull by the horn and take a firm decision on the propriety of keeping Ayu on the job.

The Thursday meeting will be preceded on Wednesday by that of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) and the National Caucus.


Although the source declined to disclose the agenda of the meetings, it was gathered that the call for


Ayu’s resignation would be discussed.


Also expected to feature prominently at the meetings is the issue of nominations into the party’s Presidential Campaign Council.


The meetings of the NWC and the National Caucus were initially scheduled for August 10 while those of the BoT and NEC were originally fixed for August 11.


The PDP National Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, in an August 8, 2022 statement, attributed the postponement to “unforeseen circumstances.”


Atiku is said to be in a fix on how to handle the Ayu matter.


While he is not  disposed to Ayu leaving before the elections because it could affect  the party’s chances at the polls, he also does not want to lose the financial backing of Wike and the seven state governor allies of the Rivers State strongman.


In the same breath, Atiku is said to be troubled by the realization that his acceptance of Wike’s demands would translate into  his (Atiku’s) abandonment of some of his strong allies from Rivers State  who are currently not  on the side of their governor.

PDP governors move to douse tension


The PDP Governors Forum is also said to have initiated moves to douse the growing tension in the party.


The Director General of the PDP Governors Forum, CID Maduabum, confirmed this to our correspondent in a telephone chat yesterday.


Maduabum said: “Yes, I can confirm to you that the Forum is not just folding its hands and watching. Some of the governors have been working behind the scene to achieve peace.


“We know that interests and personalities are involved in this matter and that is why ongoing efforts by the Forum are being coordinated behind the scene”.


The crisis in the party has divided the ranks of the PDP governors. Some of the 13 governors have aligned forces with Governor Wike while others are said to be in Atiku’s camp.


Atiku and Wike had met last week in London to try to resolve their differences after the former Vice President overlooked the Rivers State governor in picking his running mate, Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.

Wike had insisted at the London meeting on Ayu’s resignation, saying it would be difficult to sell the PDP to southern voters if the party’s main positions of national chair, BoT chair and presidential candidate are all occupied by northerners.


No concrete agreement was reached on the demand as they merely resolved to reconvene after two weeks.


Ayu, in his BBC Hausa interview, declared that “Atiku’s victory does not affect the Chairman’s position.”


He added: “I was voted as PDP Chairman for a four-year tenure, and I am yet to complete a year.

“I won my election based on our party’s constitution.”


“I didn’t commit any offence. I’m only reforming the party so I am not bothered with all the noises. I know I’m doing my work and I didn’t steal any money so I see no reason for all these talks.


“When we started PDP, these children were not around. They are children who do not know why we formed the party. We will not allow any individual to destabilise our party.”


Wike was swift in his reaction to the Ayu statement.


He described the PDP chairman as an ingrate.


His words: “It is unfortunate today someone said where were you when we founded the party? That those of you who said the right thing must be done are boys, children.


“You can imagine what power can do. You can imagine high ingratitude; how people can be ingrate in their lives.


“I thought as a chairman of a party, who wants to win elections, your business is to bring peace to your party. Your business is not to divide your party. Your business is not to show arrogance to your party.


“Ayu said we are children. Yes, the children brought you to be chairman of the party. The children made you chairman. Ayu, you were impeached as the Senate President. Ayu, you were sacked by Obasanjo in his administration two times.


“Arrogance cannot take you anywhere. Now, we have seen that you don’t want the party to win the election, we will help you; these children you say we are, these boys we are that brought you from nothing, I say from nothing.


“Ayu, you said you founded this party, but you left the party in 2007. You founded a company, you left the company. People stood and brought the company to what it is today.


“You have no moral right to still claim that you founded that company. You left with your shares. Other shareholders have come in.


“You must convince Nigerians that you have integrity. You are the driver that will drive the vehicle to convey us to where we are looking for.


“If the driver has no integrity, if the driver cannot show honesty, how do you convince Nigerians?”

Embattled chair chides APC over crisis


Dr. Ayu yesterday accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of sponsoring mischievous posts against him on social media.


He labeled such posts as diabolical, senseless and amateurish.


Ayu’s Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Simon Imobo-Tswam, citing one of the posts purportedly sponsored by the APC, said: “One post (from one Lawal Garba, but purporting to be from the PDP national chairman) states that Ayu says he cannot talk to a man who ‘cannot father a child!’


“Another post, with a photograph of Wike and a lady with some children (from Igbere TV) claims that the governor is not ‘the biological father of his three kids.”


“Nothing can be more diabolical, senseless and amateurish. Descending so low is neither in Ayu’s character nor nature.


“Those planting these stories against the PDP and her national chairman are simply showing their lack of intelligence.


“We state, categorically and without equivocation, that the posts are completely false. Even the inelegant construction of the posts puts them beneath Ayu.


“Dr. Ayu never said anything after Wike’s statements yesterday, and does not intend to say anything in response.


“This is even more senseless as the national chairman has met Gov. Wike’s children on a number of times.


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