The Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has backed the State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on whatever position he takes concerning the ongoing peace process in the party.
Naija News reports that former vice president and PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar and Wike, alongside some governors, had been at loggerheads since May 2022, when Atiku emerged as the presidential candidate of the PDP. The crisis escalated after Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, was unveiled as Atiku’s running mate on June 16. Moves to reconcile all parties have failed.
Last Thursday, Atiku met with Wike in London alongside governors of Abia, Benue, Adamawa, and Oyo States. There were other PDP stakeholders like Donald Duke who were in attendance.
During the meeting, Wike and his allies tabled some demands before Atiku, which reportedly included the immediate resignation of the party’s National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu.
However, an ally of Atiku, Lee Meaba, rejected calls for Ayu’s removal, stating that it would be difficult for the opposition party to replace him before next year’s election.
Speaking on Saturday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Publicity Secretary of PDP, Tambari Sydney Gbara, said Wike is the leader of the party in the state, and therefore, Rivers PDP would support whatever decision he takes at any time.
He stated that the state chapter’s call for Ayu’s resignation was not out of place, maintaining that by the provisions of the PDP constitution, it was not legal for a particular section of the country to produce both the national chairman and presidential candidate of the party.
Gbara said: “In 2007 and 2008, when President Musa Yar’Adua emerged as the standard bearer of the PDP at the national level, and Colonel Ahmadu Ali (retd), who was the national chairman at the time, had to resign and a mini-convention was immediately convoked, to elect Prince Vincent Ogbulafar from the South, to enthrone balance at the top of the party’s national leadership. Therefore, if this being the trend, why should it be different now?
“Zoning, as prescribed by the constitution of PDP, was put in place to make sure that at any point in time, be it elective positions, or public offices of the party, that the six geopolitical zones are recognised and carried along for equity sake
“The position of the Wike-led group of the PDP is asking that the National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, should resign, in line with what he publicly said on the day he was sworn in: that if the presidential candidate emerges from the North, for equity sake, he would resign.
“So, it would be honourable of him to keep to his words. Therefore, justifying the position of those who are asking him to resign is very explicit and justifiable for fairness to all the geopolitical zones in the country.
“So, it is only natural that at this time, Iyorchia Ayu should do the needful. And it is so surprising that despite the positions of some very highly placed PDP members, who are equally in this course, that somebody like the BoT Chairman, Walil Jubril, had come out clearly to say it: that for peace to reign in the party, it is not proper for the national chairman to come from the same geopolitical zone with the presidential candidate. So, for peace to reign and for the party to move forward, that one has to give way.
“So, it is very surprising that somebody like Senator Lee Maeba, who is a Rivers State-born politician from the South is now the person kicking against it, despite the fact that the presidential candidate has told his media aides and other groups to desist from making comments that can truncate the peace process, which is ongoing to move the party forward.”