John Alechenu, Abuja
Fresh pressure is being mounted on the National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Sen. Iyiochia Ayu, to step aside as a video of him pledging to do so should a northerner emerge as Presidential Candidate made the rounds on Tuesday.
Ayu’s resignation is one of the key demands of party supporters sympathetic to the cause of the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, as condition for peace to return to the party.
The video which was an extract of a television interview he granted to Arise Television, in the run up to the PDP National Convention where he emerged as National Chairman.
Statements issued on his behalf in recent times however indicate a change of heart. His supporters are trying to push forward a narrative of him leaving office if the party produces a PDP President come 2023.
Ayu, had while answering a question on what would happen should Northern candidate emerge as Presidential candidate, said, “Party positions we have agreed are not tied to positions of executive and legislative positions. However, I’m a very, very democratic person I will do everything to promote the interest and image of my party.
“If the PDP says I should step down after the presidential candidate emerges and happens to be in the North, I will be very glad to do so.
“Because what we want is to run to take over the government and run the government in the, the interest of Nigerians I will sacrifice anything to ensure that my party wins.”
However in response to speculations that he resigned on Monday, the party chairman in a statement issued on his behalf by his Media Aide, Simon Imobo-Tswam, while denying the resignation rumours said, “ We restate, that the PDP National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, has not resigned and has no plan of resigning. For clarity and emphasis, he was elected for a tenure of four years.
“Sections 45 and 47 of the PDP constitution is clear on the removal and/or resignation of the national chairman.
“Those who don’t know this should get copies of the party’s constitution for more information on the matter.“
Aggrieved party members sympathetic to Governor Wike accuse Ayu of playing a partisan role in the party primary which Atiku his political ally won.
They equally accused the PDP National Chairman of frustrating efforts which would have culminated in Wike pairing with Atiku as running mate.
A source in Wike’s camp who pleaded anonymity said, “All we are saying is that our Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and all those interested in genuine reconciliation in our party should implore Ayu to do the needful, it is simple.
“Apart from the fact that our constitution is explicit on the issue of zoning, we need men who can be taken for their words at the helm