…Protests exclusion of S’East in party hierarchy
…Says same marginalisation Nnamdi Kanu spoke against still persists
By Steve Oko
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Abia State, has urged the presidential candidate of the party, Alhaji Atiku Abubarkar, to heed the growing demand for the resignation of the National Chairman of PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu.
Abia PDP in a statement by its Acting Publicity Secretary, and Zonal Vice Chairman , Abia North, Elder Abraham Amah, said Ayu’s resignation had become necessary in order to end the lingering fued in the party.
It urged Atiku “to constructively engage the gladiators in the current misunderstanding in our party, especially the National Chairman of our great Party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu and prevail upon him to do the needful and quietly relinquish his position in the interest of justice, equity, peace, unity and stability of our great Party. “
The party said that prevailing on Ayu to resign had become necessary to stave off the far-reaching implications of the withdrawal of Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers and his associates from the Atiku Campaign Organisation.
“This call has become necessary because of recent happenings in our Party, including the pulling out from the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and some of his acolytes as this would only serve to destroy the legacies erected by the founding fathers of our Party and also leave us vulnerable before our opponents.”
Abia PDP which, however, restated support for Atiku’s presidential bid, argued that justice and equity demanded that positions in the PDP should not be lopsided.
“The demand for the readjustment in the national leadership of the Party to reflect its original national outlook and protect the interests of all sections of the country is not extravagant. It is therefore, incumbent on Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to prevail on Senator Iyorchia Ayu to make this sacrifice in the interest of the Party and the country and also assure him that he can contribute meaningfully to the growth and development of our Party and country in another capacity.
“The position of the PDP is very clear that once a presidential candidate emerges from a particular geographical divide of the country, then the Party’s National Chairman should come from the reverse side to allay fears of domination and marginalisation inherent in multi-ethnic States like ours.
“Governor Wike has on several occasions said that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar made a personal commitment to him that the position of the National Chairman would go to the South once he picks the presidential ticket of our Party. That is the bone of contention today.
“Similarly, Senator Ayu during a Stakeholder’s Meeting held at the Bauchi Governor’s Lodge in Abuja publicly said that he would resign his position as Chairman of the Party if a presidential candidate emerges from the North. Today he is finding it difficult to keep to his words.
“It is therefore strange, that these two eminent persons in our Party that should represent the ideals of truth and justice for which our Party is known are the ones trying to torpedo the success that awaits us by reneging on their promises and one wonders how Nigerians would believe anything they tell them if they cannot honour a simple commitment made at the micro level of the Party.”
Abia PDP expressed displeasure that the South East is being sidelined in the PDP.
“Furthermore, the Abia PDP considers it distasteful that the South East zone that has been with the Party through thick and thin is being left out of the scheme of things in the Party, giving credence to the perception that the Nigerian State and its agents are under conspiracy to always marginalise the South East.
“It is this same cry of marginalisation that led to the agitation for the self-determination by some elements in the Igbo nation and for which one of our sons, Nnamdi Kanu is unduly incarcerated by the State while people from other regions who have committed worse crimes are receiving amnesty and State Pardon by the Nigerian State.
“The Abia PDP expects the PDP to reciprocate the sustained support it has received from the South East and ensure that the zone is rewarded with strategic positions at the national level of the Party. Anything short of this would further reinforce the widely-held belief that the South East is an expendable commodity in the Nigerian Project and this would not augur well for our Party and its future.
“Finally, the Abia PDP advises our presidential candidate to make haste and reconcile the differences in the Party ahead of the electioneering campaigns and avoid a situation where the Party gets into the turf of play in this unruly disarray.
“The gathering of the eminent persons in Port Harcourt including the former governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayo Fayose, two former National Chairman of our Party, Chief Bode George and Prof. Jerry Gana and other eminent persons, where Governor Wike made the announcement for his withdrawal from the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation is ominous and should not be taken lightly.
“Alhaji Atiku Abubakar should endeavour to reconstruct the membership of the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation by expanding it and also include people from Rivers State. That is one way he can show that he has a listening and understanding ear and that he would be a father to all when he assumes the Presidency of this country.
“A stitch in time says nine and no time is late to do the right thing.
Abia PDP in a separate statement, pledged support for Atiku despite the withdrawal of certain individuals from his campaign team.
“Following the withdrawal of some members of the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation, the Abia PDP wishes to inform its members that it remains staunchly in the PDP and solidly behind our presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in his determination to lead Nigeria in 2023 and restore it to the path of enduring growth and development.
“The Abia PDP however, believes that a certain level of adjustment in the leadership of our great Party to accommodate the interests of Southern Nigeria and create a high sense of belonging within the Party is more than imperative at this moment”.
It promised to deliver all PDP candidates in the forthcoming elections.
“Abia PDP reaffirms its commitment to the Five over Five Policy of our Party aimed at delivering the PDP candidates at all levels from the Presidential through the Governorship, Senatorial, House of Representatives to the House Assembly at the 2023 polls.
“We call on our members to remain steadfast and trust in the ability of our State governor, His Excellency, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu with his team to mobilise the necessary resources for the peaceful resolution of any challenges facing our Party as well as lead it to a resounding victory at the 2023 general election. “