…Ayu rallies against removal bid
…’PDP, APC crises, blessing in disguise for LP’
By Dapo Akinrefon, Egufe Yafugborhi & Ugochukwu Alaribe
Following Senator Iyorchia Ayu’s insistence not to resign his position as National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, the planned meeting by the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party, slated for Thursday, September 8, 2022, is expected to be a stormy one as forces for and against Ayu in the party’s leadership are set to have an open confrontation at the meeting.
Vanguard was reliably informed that ahead of the NEC meeting, some senior members of the National Working Committee, NWC, were yesterday engaged in a marathon meeting to thwart moves to oust Ayu, as one of the items on the agenda of the meeting.
Credible sources, however, told Vanguard that loyalists of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State are also exploring the option of dragging the party’s National Chairman before the court to challenge the process that brought Ayu into office.
Presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Governor Wike have been engaged in a cold war over plots to remove Senator Ayu as the party’s National Chairman.
But the PDP chairman has repeatedly dismissed calls for his removal from office, wondering where those championing such calls were when he and other Nigerians came together to form the party.
This came as Governor Wike, yesterday, vowed that no force can separate him from his Abia, Benue, Oyo and Enugu counterparts — Okezie Ikpeazu, Samuel Ortom, Seyi Makinde and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, respectively, over their stand on PDP and the 2023 elections.
PDP set for stormy session
Confirming the expected stormy session at the NEC meeting, a reliable source who spoke to Vanguard in confidence, said: “The NEC meeting will hold this Thursday and they will decide on Ayu’s matter. What we know is that some NEC members are saying Ayu must go. Thursday is a big day for the party and it will either make or mar the party.”
Ayu rallies against removal
Another credible source, a former NWC member, confirmed that the meeting will hold, but noted that if Ayu’s removal failed to scale through at the NEC meeting, the Wike camp might explore the court option.
The source said: “I know NEC will meet this week but it has nothing to do with Ayu’s resignation because he has said he is not going to resign. Whatever is going to happen, will happen at that meeting.
“PDP governors will be at the meeting but what I’m hearing is that he (Ayu) is trying to do it in such a way that his resignation will not be on the agenda.
“If it is not on the agenda and anybody raises the matter, he will tell them that it’s not on the agenda. He may also say since it is not on the agenda, he will consider it and if he says that, he may adjourn the meeting there.
“Already I heard they are sponsoring a court case against Ayu, that the convention that brought him in was flawed. They will argue that the process was a selection and not an election. Even if they go to court, they will be thrown off balance and this is all.
“They intend to use any party member or a delegate to the National Convention to take Ayu to court. That is in the pipeline.
‘’Another thing is that they may use internal mechanisms by instigating NWC members to foment trouble for Ayu, just like they did for Uche Secondus.
“So, it’s a two-way thing, they may use the court option or internal mechanism to further divide the party.
“By the time all these things are in play, Atiku may not have the opportunity to set up the campaign council. It’s a real crisis except Atiku decides to mount pressure on Ayu to resign.”
But a source close to Ayu said the push against the National Chairman might not scale through.
The source said: “We are aware of what is going on and there is a limit to how a few people can disrupt what the party is set to achieve.
“It is becoming clearer to those who frowned on the process that threw up our presidential candidate and his running mate. When you look at what has happened since then, some party members have since had a change of disposition, going by the way so-called aggrieved members, particularly the governor, have carried on.
“This is not the first time PDP would be resolving its internal issues. The party will resolve this one too and it will end well.”
PDP, APC crisis blessing in disguise for LP
Another source told Vanguard that the crises rocking both the APC and PDP may be a blessing in disguise for the Labour Party, LP.
The source said: “I know Wike and others are back but I do not think they will meet with Tinubu again. They only went to re-strategise on which presidential candidate to support. They may not declare public support for Obi but they will give him the necessary assistance and be spoilers in PDP.
“Was it the APC that asked the PDP to elect Ayu as chairman? Was it the APC that asked Ayu not to resign? Was it the APC that said Wike should not be picked as Atiku’s running mate? “It is not the APC. The APC may be a beneficiary. Don’t forget, the APC also has its problem, especially with the Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“So, God may decide to cause confusion in the two big parties and help Peter Obi become the next President. God may be behind the crises in the APC and PDP to favour the Labour Party.”
You can’t separate me, Ikpeazu, Ortom, Makinde — Wike
Meanwhile, Governor Wike, yesterday, explained that he has maintained a long-standing relationship with Ikpeazu and feels proud to associate with the Abia governor because he has changed the narrative about the state of infrastructure in Abia.
Speaking while commissioning the Osisioma-Ngwa flyover built along the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway by the Ikpeazu administration, Wike said nobody can understand the ‘modus operandi’ of what he was doing with his colleagues as no force can separate them, no matter the effort.
His words: “I don’t associate myself with those who can’t show anything. Ikpeazu is a man that knows what to do for his people. This is why I said anywhere Ikpeazu is I’ll go with him. Ikpeazu and I have come a long way. No relationship can be bought with money. People don’t understand the modus operandi of what we’re doing. If you like go and meet Seyi, meet Ugwuanyi and Ortom, nothing can change. We’re together. Who will see this flyover and not be happy? They said Abia State governor is a boy, Wike is a boy, Ortom, Ugwuanyi and Seyi are boys, but see what the boys are doing. Let them as men show us what they’re doing.”
We want proper share of our political positions
Besides, he said: “They hate us because we’re standing on an agreement. We’re only asking for a proper share of our political positions and they hate it. Don’t bother about abuse on me. If they like let them abuse me anyhow but we’ll know who’s relevant at the appropriate time. Politics is about delivering at the appropriate time. When the jungle matures, we’ll know those who can say this is where our state will be. Ikpeazu has the capacity.
“Don’t bother yourselves, politics is all about propaganda. When I wake up in the morning and nothing has been said about me, I’m not happy.
“As I was coming, I told my friend, where did you get money? Abia State is not getting huge allocation, but because he is determined to break history after 31 years, (he did this). Your work has brought good luck to all the rest of the PDP candidates in Abia. Don’t relent in doing good works for the people.”
Earlier, Ikpeazu disclosed that the commissioning of the flyover has given him so much joy that he can boldly look at the faces of his opponents and laugh at them.
Ikpeazu said he deliberately chose Wike to commission the project because the Rivers state Governor is the father and mother of flyovers in Nigeria, adding that there is no better person to commission the flyover than Wike, whom he described as Mr Flyover.
2023 is about operation ‘show your work’ — Ikpeazu
In his remarks, Governor Ikpeazu said 2023 elections will be about legacies and competencies, not mere politicking and promises.
Ikpeazu, who said he had shamed his critics with the inauguration of the Osisioma flyover and roads in Aba, said he will not allow any politician use posters on his executed and completed projects.
The Flyover, named “Okezuo Abia Flyover”, was initiated and completed by Ikpeazu to ease traffic on the Osisioma junction, known for its traffic bottlenecks.
Ikpeazusaid the completion of the flyover had given him so much joy that he boldly looked at the faces of his doubters and laughed at them.
He said: “This is the time of politics. If you want to contest an election in Abia, you must show us what you’ve done before. From your family show us your work. Don’t paste posters on my flyover, streetlight and projects. Place your posters on your projects, not on my own projects.
‘’Today is a sad day for those who thought this flyover will never be completed. It is a sad day for those who called it a borehole and called it a centre table.
“This is a sad day for the Sanballat and Tobiah (detractors) those who called this Flyover ‘Centre Table’, this is a sad day for them.
‘’I weep for them as they hide their faces in shame. All those who thought this Flyover will not come true, my word for you is shame on you.”
He said the Osisioma Flyover, despite all doubts, had now solved the traffic congestion problems experienced back then in Aba.
Ikpeazu, who said the essence of governance was to solve problems of the people, congratulated Aba business community and Abians at large on the realization of the project.
He described the day as special for the people of goodwill, adding that for the opposition and those who castigated his government while the construction of the interchange lasted, it was a sad day for them.
According to the governor, he invited Governor Nyesom Wike to inaugurate the projects because he is the father of flyovers in Nigeria and understands the value of an interchange.