By Dirisu Yakubu – Abuja
Ahead of its October 31 national elective convention, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Thursday, took a significant step towards a possible hitch-free exercise following the emergence of Dr Iyorchia Ayu as the consensus chairmanship candidate of the North.
Ayu’s emergence was a product of intense lobby and reconciliation across board which led to withdrawal from the race of two other contestants, Ibrahim Shema and Senator Abdul Ningi.
Vanguard gathered that Ningi, former leader of the Senate was dragged to the race by Governor Bala Muhammed of Bauchi state to scuttle the aspiration of Senator Suleiman Nazif, incumbent deputy national chairman (North) of the PDP.
Nazif who never gets along with Governor Bala had reportedly boasted that no one would stop him from aspiring to lead the party in the new National Working Committee, NWC, expected to emerge after the October convention.
Determined to checkmate Nazif, the governor, our correspondent learnt, brought in Ningi and caused a good number of PDP faithful from the North-East to queue behind him.
As a result, Ningi joined former Katsina state governor, Ibrahim Shema who had earlier secured the nomination of the North-West. With all three zones gathered at the Bauchi state Governor’s lodge, supporters of Ayu made up of Ortom, former Senate Presidents, David Mark, Bukola Saraki and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, BoT of party, Senator Walid Jibrin amongst others, went into private meeting with Shema and Ningi, both of whom promptly opted out of the race, paving way for the emergence of Ayu.
Addressing journalists at the event, Fintiri assured party faithful of greater days ahead for the PDP, declaring that the consensus reached to settle for Ayu as the chairmanship candidate of the North, makes all contestants winners and not losers.
He said: “Distinguish Senator Iyorchia Ayu has emerged as a consensus candidate of the North. With this, we are fully prepared, we are ready. We will be talking with our colleagues from other parts of the country, especially the South so that they can see reasons for this consensus candidate and give us support during the October 30 and 31 convention of PDP.
“There is no victor, no vanquished in this meeting. We all came out united. Out of the three Northern contestants that all the three zones produced, the candidates themselves in the spirit of unity and togetherness, in the spirit of ensuring that PDP emerges and benefits from our efforts, so that we can win together for Nigerians the 2023 general elections, chose Ayu.
“All of them were immensely qualified but through discussion and reconciliation, we have emerged with a consensus that was endorsed by the candidates themselves. There was no election and there was no selection.”
On his part, Dr. Ayu pledged to quickly come up with policies that will give the PDP a new face, after the convention.
He said: “It is my singular honour to accept the responsibilities which has been put on my shoulders from the North. I believe that at the end of the day, it will not only be the North, but it will be about all Nigerians. The PDP will be back to its winning ways and we will work tirelessly after the convention to rebuild the party to take over power to rebuild the country.
“I believe all Nigerians miss the PDP government. Our 16 years moved this country forward. We intend to work together with all the leaders, not only in the North but across the country to reposition this country for the next generation of Nigerians.
“It will be an all inclusive administration of the party. We will work collectively to produce policies which will be acceptable to all Nigerians. Today, our currency is the weakest in the world. Even the Somalians are better than us in Africa.
“We will work hard to solve the issue of insecurity. I want to thank the leaders of the North who are united, determined and who are willing to work with me. I am a foundation member of this party. I worked in the party before, but I know that you cannot do it alone.
“We shall work as team and I believe with the support of Nigerians, who have suffered in the hands of a party that does not exist, of a party that does not care for the youths of Nigeria, of a party that doesn’t care for anybody but themselves, we shall achieve victory and administer this country to the greater glory of God.”
The meeting was attended by top politicians from the three Northern geo-political zones of North Central, North-East and North-West including Aminu Tambuwal, Samuel Ortom, Tanimu Turaki, Ibrahim Dankwambo among others.