John Alechenu, Abuja
Supporters of the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, under the aegis of Atiku People United (APU), have said calls for the resignation of the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, are ill timed and potentially destructive.
The group said this in a communique after a strategic meeting in Lagos, on Friday. A copy of the communique was sent to reporters in Abuja via email.
Members of the group condemned the way agitations against Ayu and calls for re-zoning of the position of National Chairman is being pursued, is unhealthy and had the potential of ruining the party’s chances in the forth coming general elections.
The communique was signed by Chief Dapo Sarumi, founding National Vice Chairman South West, Hon. Rahman Owokoniran, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) South West Secretary among others.
Atiku Associates, an independent campaign movement, said in the communique, “While it is the right of all members to claim or maintain their moral or legal rights, mouthing statements and insinuations that could demarket and destroy our Party and or candidate should be a no-go area and should be viewed with every seriousness because you can’t damage a foundation and still go ahead to build on it.
“We believe, and very strongly too, that the current do or die agitation in the Party is unfortunately due to inability of our leadership to reflect on benefit of hindsight.
“Leaders who have done great for the Party unconsciously are ready to kill the Party and kill their own ambition exactly as it affected us in 2015.
“Note that almost all those at the center of the bitter bickering are election ticket holders or godfather to Party ticket holders.
“That it is the same failure of deep reflection that the ruling Party in Lagos has used to keep PDP out of power for 23 years.
“ This should be very instructive and all PDP leaders in the combat zone should take it to heart, not forgetting that the same destructive tendencies was used to push PDP out of power using ‘New PDP,’ an action that was later regretted to be a dinner with the devil. Why must history repeat itself?“
The communique further noted that “As core politicians, with many political pundits among us, we say without mincing words, that the agitation may be right but the timing is completely wrong and politically unwise.
“And except we have decided to concede 2023 to APC, Ayu’s removal or resignation may shock the system, create fresh troubles that may be more destructive and take controls out of our hands.
“As a matter of fact, when has the office of National Chairman become so important in government and governance to any region to make us ready to throw away the Presidency.
“We have no doubts these must be why our presidential candidate, a master of the game himself has chosen the stand he has taken and not because of lack of respect for Governor Wike and his team.
“We therefore advise that the aggrieved leaders should be willing to make sacrifice of sheathing their swords until after election when the Party leader must have emerged and power of persuasion stronger and assuring. Note that Atiku is only a candidate and not yet Party leader officially.”
The Associates further said: “We sympathize and agree totally with our Presidential Candidate Atiku Abubakar that we cannot resort to impunity in removing the National Chairman and that this can only be achieved through personal conviction, which in our opinion is achievable through Political persuasions instead of equipping the opposition with Campaign materials.
“We call on all concerned to remember that the PDP had apologized to Nigerians that it would never engage in impunity anymore and that the rule of law will always prevail. We believe this is the stand and statement of our Candidate, Atiku Abubakar. And this is what Nigerians need in any leader that must take the country out of the woods where we have found ourselves.
“A leader who listens, negotiates, openly bares his mind and does not just pander to opinions because they are loud but looks at the long-term implication with deep insights and contribution by experts.
“We call to memory the bitter struggle of the then ‘NEW PDP’ and the eventual regret by all. We therefore passionately plead for caution and rethink as this self-celebrated crack is heartbreaking, morale killing and hope dimming to many members and other Nigerians who look up to PDP for National Rescue from the hegemony of this notorious All Pretenders congress (APC) who have through their government made life unbearable for everyone and taken Nigeria to the lowest on every facet of life and living.”
The group, however, urged “the ‘Star Boy’ of the Southwest, our own amiable Governor and star Performer/Reformer, Governor Oluwaseyi Makinde, the only first term governor in their team, to Please plead with his colleagues to sheath their swords in the interest of peace and progress, we say this because we cannot afford to send wrong signals to our people and get them confused when election comes. He has done a lot and still has a lot to do for us not just in Oyo State but the entire Southwest and the nation at large.
“It is in an effort to sustain the zonal arrangement that the Party recently amended the constitution that the first chairman must come from the same zone as the chairman, otherwise, the exit of Ayu would have been seamless. This is not the making of Atiku, it was the collective decision of the national convention.”