Loyalists of the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, have dismissed claims by some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that a mini-convention is required to remove the embattled National Chairman of the party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu.
Recall that Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Chief Olabode George, and many others on Wednesday pulled out of the Presidential Campaign of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, insisting that Ayu must resign before they can back the PDP Presidential candidate as the campaign kicks off on September 28.
Reacting to the group’s demand, the PDP’s National Legal Adviser, Kamaldeen Ajibade (SAN) dismissed plans to organize a mini-convention to remove Ayu before the campaign starts on September 28.
Ajibade stated that there was no time to remove the PDP chairman, claiming that the crisis in the party could worsen if Ayu stepped down as he would still be replaced by someone from his geo-political zone.
He said, “Nobody says it’s not achievable, but at least you know it’s constitutional. You know that going by our constitution, going by article 47/ 6, if Ayu steps down, somebody from his zone is coming to step in and that person has to be the national vice chairman, north and it will even be worse if the national vice chairman were to step in as the deputy national vice chairman, north is from the same zone with the candidate himself.
“On what Chief Bode George said, maybe you need to ask him how it is possible before 28 September because if he has a way that it can be achieved, that will require a mini-convention, where offices have to be swapped. The mini-convention will not be possible before September 28.”
But reacting to the statement claiming Ayu’s removal can only be done through a convention, the South-South Zonal Legal Adviser of the party, George Turner, stated that Ayu could be removed without such a forum.
“We have had reasons to remove party chairmen in the past without going to mini-conventions. The way out of this crisis may not necessarily have to be a convention.
“By the provision of the PDP constitution, the National Executive Committee can take a decision on Ayu’s fate subject to ratification by a convention that will come up later,” he told The PUNCH.
Turner recalled that in the past, chairmen were removed without going to conventions, adding that the embattled PDP national chairman should go in the interest of the party.
“The man that was removed from office before Ayu was elected, Uche Secondus was not removed at a convention. He was removed less than three months to the end of his tenure,” he added.
Also speaking, a former federal lawmaker who represented Etche-Omuma federal constituency in the National Assembly, Ogbonna Nwuke, said the issue in the PDP is Ayu’s removal and not about a mini-convention.
According to him, peace would only return to the PDP if Ayu to steps down for a southerner to step in since the presidential candidate for the 2023 election is from the North.
He said Ayu’s resignation or removal would give the South a sense of belonging and restore harmony in the main opposition party ahead of the elections.