By Miftaudeen Raji
A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Bode George has described the response of the presidential candidate of the party, Abubakar Atiku to calls for the removal of Senator Iyorchia Ayu, national chairman of the PDP as disheartening.
The elder statesman made this assertion on Thursday while speaking during an interview on Arise Television’s News Day on Thursday.
George said, “Let’s do what is right, let’s do what is just. All of us can not sleep and face the same direction. I am talking because we are deviating from the norm and the cause of our founding fathers.”
“It is not a personal thing for me and it will never be. This is not a personal emotional issue. This is about doing things right. Let’s follow the culture and the norms of our founding fathers so that we can convince the people that we can build the country,” he added.
Recall that Atiku had restated his position that he cannot force Ayu to resign as the party’s National Chairman
This was after Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and his team in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the Ayu-must-go move pulled out of the campaign Council of Atiku.
The party stalwarts, who share in Wike’s vision, maintained that there would be no support for Atiku until Ayu vacated the number one office of the party to allow an acting Chairman from the South part of the country.
The aggrieved stalwarts which comprise the founding members of the party, sitting 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.
George, who read the resolution of the group, said they were deeply concerned about the division in the PDP despite the party’s age-long internal mechanism designed to guarantee inclusiveness.
George said, “We resolve that we are deeply concerned by the division in our party. We are aware that over the years our party has developed conflict resolution mechanisms that guarantee inclusiveness. The published presidential campaign council list translates to putting the cat before the horse.
The pertinent issue remains the resolution of the leadership which is a departure of “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.”
Also, A former Plateau State Governor, Senator Jonah Jang, claimed that Ayu was a bad referee, who assisted one side to score a goal during a football match and later blew the whistle.
He accused Ayu of compromising the May 28 and 29 presidential primaries of the party through his conduct.
Jang said: “For a National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu to go and embrace Sokoto State 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.”
Furthermore, A former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, said if the party intended to restructure Nigeria it should have the courage to restructure itself.
He noted that their support for Wike was for the sake of equity and justice in the party, not neither because he lost the presidential primary nor because he was not chosen as the Vice-presidential running mate.
Gana said, “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 just, fair, principled and constitutional structure for the party. If we want to restructure Nigeria, we should have the courage to restructure our party”.
The Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde added, “We hope that the powers that be listen to the voice of reason and do the needful.”