‘Ayu-must-go’: Wike’s Group Pulls Out of Atiku’s Campaign Team
The team of the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP ) has pulled out of the campaign Council of the party’s presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar.
Rising from their stormy meeting at the country home of Wike in Obio-Akpor on Wednesday morning, members of the team vowed not to partake in Atiku’s campaign activities pending the resignation of the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu.
The members of the party sympathetic to Wike insisted that there would be no deal with Atiku until Ayu vacated his office to allow an acting Chairman from the South lead the campaign of Atiku.
The aggrieved party stalwarts comprising founding members of the party, Governors, former Ministers and other leaders of the party made their position known in a resolution read by a former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George.
They maintained that their position was not negotiable as the chairmanship of Ayu undermined the unity and constitution of the party.
Present at this defining gathering at Wike’s residence in Port Harcourt include Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State; former Governors Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo, Ayo Fayose of Ekiti, Donald Duke of Cross River, Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe and Jonah Jang of Plateau, former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke.
Others at the meeting are elder statesmen, Olabode George, Jerry Gana; South-South Chairman of the PDP, Dan Orbih; former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chibudom Nwuche; Senator Suleiman Nazif, Nnenna Ukeje, among several others.
After over seven hours of private meeting from 7pm on Tuesday, September 20 to past 2am on Wednesday September 21, they gathered to brief journalists on the outcome, with George stating the shocker.
Reading the resolution, George said: “Senator Iyorchia Ayu must resign as the National Chairman of the party for an acting Chairman of the Southern Nigerian 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 Dr. Iyorchia Ayu”.
Jang said: “For a National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu to go and embrace Sokoto Governor, Aminu Tanbuwal, calling him the hero of the convention meant that there was a private arrangement that was done with Tambuwal to shortchange other contestants including Governor Wike.
“Here was a referee, who helped one of his sides to score a goal and then blew the whistle. This is not what we formed the PDP to do for Nigerians. Therefore, we unequivocally ask that Ayu must step down”.
They said their support for Wike was neither because he lost the presidential primary nor because he was not chosen as the Vice-presidential running mate but because of equity and justice in the party.
A former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, said if the party intended to restructure Nigeria it should have the courage to restructure itself.
“You cannot build on a faulty foundation. This call for the chairman to step down or resign is not because any of us is aggrieved but because we believe it is important to ensure a a just, fair, principled and constitutional structure for the party. If we want to restructure Nigeria, we should have the courage to restructure our party”.
Oyo Governor, Seyi Makinde, said: “We hope that the powers that be listen to the voice of reason and do the needful”.