…As Atiku, Wabara meet aggrieved governors
The crisis rocking the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) might linger for some time as the South-West of the party on Wednesday, 14th September, 2022 demanded Iyorcha Ayu’s resignation.
Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, made the position of the region known at a stakeholder meeting in Ibadan with the presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and his running mate, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa in attendance.
In a press statement later by Makinde’s CPS, Taiwo Adisa, and titled, “2023: South West PDP resolves to back Atiku Abubakart, insists Iyorcha Ayu must go,” the governor said South-West PDP had resolved to back Atiku Abubakar and his running mate Ifeanyi Okowa in the 2023 election, declaring however that Ayu must resign.
He said Ayu should resign to give room for a chieftain from the South to take over the position, noting that this would make the people in the southern part of the country have a sense of belonging in the party.
Makinde, who was named the chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, had in his address earlier at the venue described the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal as the chairman of the forum.
The governor said the eight-year rule of the APC had left the country sharply polarised and the issue of where power resides must be addressed carefully so that people from the South would not feel like aliens in the party.
Makinde explained that the insistence of governors Nyesom Wike, Samuel Ortom and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and himself that the PDP must play a politics of inclusion by allowing the national chairmanship post to move to the South, should not be seen as having a problem with the party or the presidential candidate.
He stated that the governors had left the issue of the presidential primary election behind them.
Makinde said, “I want to thank everyone for coming to this meeting and I think, at this point, we have to tell ourselves nothing but the truth.
“What we will do here is to speak the truth to ourselves. Yes, others have spoken here about the positive side of things but we do have challenges and issues to address in our party. But one good thing is that we have the capacity to address those issues.”
Atiku said the Constitution of the party would have to be followed to make the demand of the South-West PDP possible, while urging them not to allow the issue to derail the train of the party from the 2023 elections.
Atiku said, “The most important event facing us today is the election of 2023 and how to win. From what I have seen in Lagos and Ibadan, I can tell you that we can win the elections if we want to and it is possible for us to take over all the South western states.
“More so, the new Electoral Act has improved our electoral processes and has made it difficult for people to write results. They cannot do it anymore and they cannot rig. If they send thugs to snatch ballot boxes, the boxes will not be counted. So, the era is over. The most important thing for you is to make sure you are registered to vote and protect your vote.
“The PDP is the oldest political party in Nigeria and since the return of democracy. Over time, the PDP has developed its own constitution, electoral processes, zoning of offices, power sharing, and others, which will bring about the unity of the party and that of the country. I have no problem with wherever any of the members of the party comes from but it must be done in accordance with our constitution, regulations, and practices.
“Therefore, what Governor Makinde is calling for is achievable under our constitution, rules, regulations, and procedures. So, those institutions must serve as guides to whatever changes we make. That is why we cannot do anything outside the constitution unless it is amended to reflect what we want them to be.
“Ayu is ready anytime to quit the position but this has to be negotiated or else it will put the party in serious danger. Already, the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki has said that if Ayu leaves the party, he too is ready to leave.”
The senator however advised that the people would need to sit together and sort things out before the national chairman steps down.
Speaking on Ortom’s role in the crisis, Jev said, “Ortom is in a dilemma because he has been Wike’s friend, it was as a result of this that he (Ortom) facilitated the election of Ayu and he cannot just leave Wike, so also he cannot dump Ayu. Ortom too is looking for negotiation out of this.”