The former PDP South -West national vice chairman, Chief Olabode George, who read out the communique after the meeting, said they are concerned about the divisions in the party, and bemoaned the failure of the leadership to utilise the internal conflict resolution mechanisms to ensure inclusiveness of all and guarantee victory for the PDP.
“The published presidential campaign council list translates to putting the cart before the horse. The pertinent issue before the party remains the resolution of the Ayu leadership debacle, which is a departure from the spirit and letter of our constitution which undermines the unity of our great party.
“We therefore resolve that Senator Iyorchia Ayu resigns as the national chairman of the party for an acting chairman of Southern Nigeria extraction to emerge, and lead the party on the national campaign.
“Consequently, we resolve not to participate in the campaign council in whatever capacity until the resignation of Senator Iyorchia Ayu.”
In the same vein, former Plateau State governor, Senator Jonah Jang said the description of Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal as the PDP presidential primaries hero by Senator Ayu, is antithetical to the principle of justice, fair play and equity on which the party was formed.
“It is true that everything is been done for us to have internal democracy in the party. But, for the national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu to go and embrace Tambuwal, calling him the hero of the convention, which means there was a private arrangement that was done with Tambuwal to short change other contestants, including governor Wike. Here was a referee who now help one of the sides to score a goal, and then blow the whistle that a goal had been scored.
“This is not what we formed the PDP to do for Nigerians, and therefore, we unequivocally asked that Ayu has to step down, so that having got the presidential candidate from the northern part of the country through his assistance, he should as well now step down so that a national chairman can move to the south, and the party can be united for the campaign towards 2023.”
He said governor Wike and others call for Senator Ayu to resign is aimed at addressing the structural imbalance in the party’s hierarchy.
On his part, former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana said if PDP cannot restructure itself, it cannot restructure Nigeria.
He insisted that as committed PDP members, they’re sincerely desirous that the PDP returns to power and provide Nigerians excellent governance.
“But that cannot be achieved unless we have a proper structure of the party as designed by the founding fathers. We are men and women who are committed to the issues of justice, fairness, equity. You cannot build on a faulty foundation.
“Therefore, this call for the chairman to step down or resign is not because any of us is aggrieved, but because we believed it is important to ensure a fair structure, a just structure, a principle structure, a constitutional structure for the party.
“If we want to restructure Nigeria, we should have the courage to restructure our party. And that is why we have met and decided that this is extremely important, and therefore we want Nigerians to know.”
Gana maintained that they will remain committed members of PDP, but will continue to insist that the right things be done.
“We remain PDP, but we want things done justly, fairly, equitably.”
Former Gombe State governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, who also spoke, declared that they will work for the party to the extent that fairness, equity and justice is ensured in the party.
Those who attended the meeting are Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike; Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde; former governors of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose; Dr. Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo); Donald Duke (Cross River); PDP South -South national vice chairman, Chief Dan Orbih; former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, SAN; Senator Olaka Nwogu; Senator Lado Danmarke; Senator Mao Ohuabunwa; Senator Sandy Onor; Sulaiman Mohammed Nazif.
In a related development, Gov, Wike of Rivers State has declared that he will not leave the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for whatever reason.
The governor stated that he was rather interested in preserving the sanity of the party and will stay back to fight for the enthronement of unity, inclusivity, equity and peace in the PDP.
Governor Wike made the declaration at the Rivers State PDP stakeholders meeting at Government House, Port Harcourt on Thursday.
The governor said he is a man of character, unlike those who cannot keep their words and walked out of the party at the Eagle Square in Abuja in 2014.
“One thing I have always told people is, if anybody is thinking, doing anything to think that we will leave PDP, foul. We will do the fight in the party. We are not like them, when in 2014 they walked out from Eagle Square. They’ve forgot. They walked out and joined APC. Is it not correct?
“Did they remain to fight inside the party? But we remained, they ran away. Now, there is a fight in the party, we will not run. We will fight it in this party. Those who run away from fight are weak people. We will not. So, everybody should know this is the state where we are. So that nobody tells you all kind of stories.”
Governor Wike insisted that the constitution of the party clearly stated that elective and party offices must be zoned which, should be respected.
Governor Wike wondered why the former PDP BOT chairman will be pressurised to resign and the PDP national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu is excusing himself from keeping to doing what is right.
“You have taken presidential candidate, you have taken party chairman, you have also taken the D.G (director general) of the campaign. We are talking about party politics. Decisions are made by the presidential candidate, chairman of the party and the D.G of the campaign.
“They are telling you they told the chairman of the BOT to resign. So, you know there is a problem. You said he should go and resign. You can put pressure on him to resign when his tenure hasn’t come to an end. But you cannot put pressure on the chairman to resign. You think at our level you will deceive us. You’ll tell us stories.”
Governor Wike recalled how in 2015 the federal government used the military to invade Rivers State, interfered with and even annulled elections, but were resisted.
The governor recalled he made sure the senatorial results for Rivers East was announced that delivered Senator George Thompson Sekibo and that of Rivers West, that produced Senator Betty Apiafi.
Governor Wike regretted that despite the risk taken to deliver them, the same people are now in Abuja plotting against him. He said they won’t succeed because God has blessed him.
The Rivers State governor also clarified that he never promised anybody governorship ticket of the PDP despite the pressure some leaders mounted on him or attempts made to divide the State House of Assembly.
Governor Wike said though he didn’t clinch the PDP presidential ticket, he actually made a good account of himself at the primary.
The governor informed that by next week, Rivers State PDP campaign team will be unveiled and the campaign pattern adopted will be based on each local government peculiarity.
Governor Wike emphasised that all PDP candidates in the State will be returned elected by Rivers people who are satisfied with the performance of his administration.
“We will take all. We are taking all because Rivers people are happy with what we have done in this state. we have not only provided infrastructure, we have also defended the interest of Rivers State.”
He explained that it took courage and firmness for him to protect the interest and assets of Rivers State without compromising it with politics.
Governor Wike explaining that besides securing a refund of money illegally deducted by the federal government over the Police Trust Fund, his administration recovered oil wells wrongly ceded to Imo State and is collecting the accruing revenue from the oil wells in disputed area between Rivers and Bayelsa States.
The governor stated that the federal government won’t be able to use the army and the police in the 2023 election, because Nigerians will vote for political parties on the basis of their performance.
Governor Wike caution party members who want to be moles and work against the PDP because they were not given the ticket that they sought.
The governor urged party members to be steadfast because God is on their side, and since they have not known defeat, PDP cannot be defeated in 2023 general election in Rivers State.
In his response, State Chairman of the PDP, Ambassador Desmond Akawor said the party in the state has already passed a vote of confidence on governor Wike for the way he has piloted the affairs of the State.
He commended the governor for the consistent delivery of projects, defending the interest of the State, and declared that they will continue to follow the leadership that he provides.