Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has it cannot remove the national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu because it is trying to avoid going into a situation that will see it go into the 2023 general elections with a constitutional crisis.
Its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, made this known yesterday, in Abuja, while reacting to calls for the replacement of Ayu, ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Africa Daily News, New York reports that supporters of the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, as well as some other party leaders, such as Chief Olabode George, have been calling for the replacement of the national chairman, with a Southerner to strike a North/ South balance, before the next general elections.
However, Ologunagba said there was need for the party to remain united in the run-up to next year’s polls. He added that this is not the first the party’s chairman and presidential candidate would be coming from the same part of the country.
The PDP spokesman noted that while the party recognised the right of every member to express their opinion, such opinions may not necessarily be the views of majority of members.
‘We respect his views but his views cannot be equated with the view of the majority of our members. The view of a member no matter how highly placed cannot equate that of the majority of members.
‘Right now, we need to recognize the need for the party to remain united. We have a system, a robust conflict resolution mechanism, we are getting to our destination which is peace in the party and the resolution of our security challenges nationwide. We don’t want to go into the election with a constitutional crisis, we have barely six months to the election. Even if you say Ayu should go today, his replacement comes from the same north. There has been a precedence, when (Umaru) Yar’adua became our candidate (2007), Ahmadu Alli, a fellow northerner was national chairman and remained so until the party won the 2003 elections.’
He said the party is intensifying efforts to reconcile all differences within its fold.
However, Governor Wike has vowed not to attend any reconciliation meeting with Atiku, former vice president and presidential candidate of the PDP if Ayu, remains national chairman of the party.
A source said the governor maintained his stand that Ayu steps down at a closed-door meeting with Governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, who went as an emissary from Atiku to seek Wike’s understanding.
The crisis had erupted in the PDP after Atiku Abubakar won the presidential ticket of the party on May 28 with 371 votes to defeat his closest rival, Governor Wike, who polled 237 votes.
Ayu is seen as the architect of Wike’s defeat at the PDP Convention and again as the obstacle to Atiku selecting him for the position of Vice presidential candidate for the election.
It was gathered that Atiku does not want to throw Ayu under the bus, nevertheless, the burden on the national chairman is whether he would be a man of his word and honour his promise to vacate office if a northern candidate emerged.