By Egufe Yafugborhi & John Alechenu, ABUJA
The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Iyiochia Ayu, yesterday got a confidence vote after weeks of speculations about whether or not he should retain his seat.
But the decision did not go down well with Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State who insisted that Ayu must step down. The party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and Governor Wike have been at loggerheads over the agitation for Ayu’s removal as the party’s chairman.
The Rivers governor and those sympathetic to his cause are aggrieved, following their perceived marginalization in the scheme of things within the party.
But the party’s National Executive Committee, NEC, yesterday, passed a motion to save Ayu at the 97th NEC meeting, in Abuja. NEC is made up of all organs of the party.
This was sequel to a motion by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mr Ndudi Elumelu.
After expressing gratitude to the Ayu-led National Working Committee, NWC, for steering the ship of the party in the right direction since taking office, Elumelu said: “You (Ayu) have shown maturity. Nigerians are suffering today and PDP is the only solution and that is why it is important for the PDP to unite.
“We must learn to forgive one another. All of us cannot be chairman, presidential candidate. But together we can lead. If only we can be patient, we can lead.
“National cake of Aso Villa is too much for all Nigerians. And this cake means creating the necessary infrastructure for Nigerians, not making fake promises like APC.
“A lot has gone wrong. Let us put behind the anger and move forward. It is the devil that is trying to stop us from winning because they know, in the spiritual realm, we have won.
“We can never be distracted. We must talk to our people to collect their PVCs.
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“On behalf of my colleagues, we have decided because the NWC has tremendously performed, our governors are our pride, forget what you are reading. “They are united. I believe they will deliver their states for PDP in 2023. Let me move a motion. I move that a vote of confidence be put before the NWC for their doggedness; forthrightness and professionalism, especially in giving us Osun State and I believe they will give us the Villa in 2023.”
A party chieftain from Kwara State, Mr Ishola Balogun, seconded the motion after he was recognized to do so.
Wabara takes over as BoT chairman
Also speaking, Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Aminu Tambuwual, passed on the responsibility of chairman of the BoT to Adolphus Wabara to perform the task.
Wabara restated the confidence of the BoT in the Iyiochia Ayu-led National Working Committee.
He said: “There is a motion on the floor, if there is a counter-motion, let us have it. If none, those in support of the motion say “Aye”. those against say “Nay” the ayes have it.“
He earlier enjoined all party members, especially leaders, to control their anger and avoid “playing to the gallery.
“Let us learn to debrief ourselves in-house and avoid playing to the gallery. We should control our anger because we cannot take back words once we utter them.”
Disagreements normal in politics — Ayu
Earlier, Ayu expressed gratitude to members of the party for their support.
He also noted that disagreements between party members were normal, adding that what mattered was not such disagreements but how they were resolved.
His words: “In spite of all impressions being created, even in the families, sometimes you have family disagreements.
“I think this party is famous for settling disagreements and going on to win elections in the past. This time is not an exception.
“I am happy that the majority of people are interested in our party. So, because we disagree among ourselves within our capacity, we have done it before and I believe we will do it again.”
PDP’s disagreements not fundamental —Atiku
In his remarks, the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, expressed gratitude to all for electing him as candidate.
He said: “I cannot thank you enough; my promise is that I will meet your expectations and the expectations of Nigerians.
“Let me also use this opportunity to thank our outgoing BoT chairman for his services and sense of patriotism for our great party.
“Many speakers have alluded to family disagreement, family disagreements are normal, even in normal families as well as political families.
“But what I can assure you is that we are determined to resolve those issues internally.
“There are not really fundamental disagreements, it is normal. “Today, PDP is the oldest political party in Nigeria from the First Republic till today; no political party has existed as long as the PDP.
“As a political party, we have our constitution, our rules and our regulations. I want to urge that no matter the level of disagreement, it should be resolved within our constitution, within our rules, within our regulations.
“We have all what it takes to guide us to continue to nurture this political party, to provide a platform for all Nigerians to realize their collective and individual aspirations.
“Therefore, I wish to appeal to all members of our party to make sure that all our disagreements are resolved internally.“
Why I resigned —Jubrin
Earlier, the BoT Chairman, (now former), Senator Walid Jibrin, announced his resignation from the position.
Speaking during the BoT meeting held earlier, the PDP leader said: “All we want to ensure is that Atiku becomes the president of Nigeria by all means. That is why I decided to step down from the BoT. And I discussed this with the candidate and the candidate agrees with me. If the party wins I will be given a bigger position.”
Those in attendance included the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar; Governors Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Duoye Diri (Bayelsa), Darius Ishaku (Taraba), Aminu Tambuwual (Sokoto).
Others were former Vice President, Namadi Sambo; former Governors of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido and Senator Saminu Turaki; former Adamawa State Governor, Boni Haruna and his Cross River State counterpart, Donald Duke ,among others.
NEC approves campaign structure, focus on grassroots mobilization
At the end of its 97th NEC, the PDP approved a structure for the 2023 Presidential Campaign Council.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Debo Ologunagba, who read out the communiqué at a media briefing, said the National Working Committee and the presidential candidate were mandated to work out the details about its membership.
Ologunagba said: “NEC approved a unified campaign Structures across the country for the PDP for the 2023 general elections which will focus more on the grass root.
“NEC approved the proposed Structure and Organogram of the National Campaign Council as well as the National Campaign Management Council for the 2023 general elections.
“NEC also approved the structures for campaign councils at the states, local government, ward and unit levels.
“NEC unanimously empowered the NWC to modify and adjust the structures of the Campaign Councils as and when the need arises.“
While reiterating the unanimous vote of confidence passed on the NWC, Ologunagba said: “NEC received and accepted the resignation of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Sen. Walid Jibrin and accepted the nomination of Senator Adolphus Wabara, the Secretary of the BoT, as Acting Chairman of the BoT.
The body also expressed gratitude Senator Jibrin for his loyalty and commitment towards the unity, stability and success of the Party at all times and urged him not to relent in his service to the party and the nation at large.
The NEC also unanimously ratified the list of candidates of the PDP as submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, by the NWC.
State of the nation
Ologunagba said: “NEC strongly decried the worsening state of the nation’s economy with attendant excruciating hardship occasioned by the corruption, insensitivity, incompetence and harsh economic policies of the inhumane and vicious APC.
“NEC is also appalled by the worsening insecurity in the country occasioned by the obvious complicity of the APC administration which continues to condone and enable acts of terrorism in various parts of the country.
“NEC lamented the failure of the APC government to address the industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU. NEC lamented that the APC is relishing the agony, pain and suffering of parents and students in Nigerian public universities due to the prolonged strike action.
“NEC condemned the constant display of arrogance by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu in handling the issue of ASUU strike and called for a more constructive engagement by stakeholders to resolve the matter.
“NEC also condemned in the strongest terms the appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari of card-carrying members of the APC as INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs.“
The party equally described the action as “unpatriotic and a brazen plot by the APC to manipulate and rig the 2023 general elections against the Will of Nigerians.”
He said: “The PDP demands that President Buhari immediately withdraws the APC members nominated as RECs, failure of which has the capacity to trigger serious political crisis that can threaten the 2023 general elections and derail our democratic process “The NEC also received and approved the composition of the Manifesto Review Committee to review the Manifesto of the PDP ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“NEC charged Nigerians to remain united in rallying towards the success of the PDP at the 2023 general elections and start the onerous task of rescuing and rebuilding our nation. “
Jubrin’s resignation of no effect— Wike
In his reaction to developments at the NEC yesterday, Governor Wike insisted that the reported resignation of the party’s BoT Chairman, Walid Jibrin, would not assuage the demand by him and his allies for Ayu to resign.
Speaking at the inauguration of Ahoada Campus of Rivers State University in Ahoada East Local Government Area, the governor said he was not concerned about Jibrin’s resignation.
His words: “If the presidential candidate comes from the North, you (Ayu) will resign. By the convention of our party, the chairman will come from South. And Ayu said if the presidential candidate comes from the North, he will resign after the convention of our party, and that the chairman of our party will come from the South.
“When the North Central leaders met in the house of Bala Mohammed, governor of Bauchi State, he said so there. When he met the caucus of the Senate, he told them that.
“Now, when we finished our convention on Sunday, the candidate of the party came to see me in my house in Abuja on Monday around 10:30 am. The candidate told me ‘I want us to work together’, and then he said, look Ayu must go.
“I said why? He said because when a candidate comes from the north, the chairman will come from the South. And I’m saying implement what you told me. What offense have I committed in saying that?
“So I want the presidential candidate to deny this. If he denies, I will go further to say so many things to Nigerians because enough is enough.
“We can’t continue this way. They were told that the BoT Chairman has resigned. Who’s talking about Chairman of BoT? What is the role of BoT, just advisory? Not a decision making body.
“The presidential candidate of the party and the chairman are those who will sit to take decisions. The presidential candidate and chairman of the party are from North. Who will represent interests of the South in decision making?
On the resignation of the BoT Chair, Wike said: “One former general went to see the BoT chairman and the candidate too went to see him to resign that we’ll give you advisory position. The BoT position is already advisory.
‘’What advisory position is he going to give him? That is to insult us. And all of us are here. Our people are there, not knowing what is happening. You think it’s Wike. It is you.
‘’It is your children. How can we be here, the chairman and presidential candidate will meet, they will take a decision, nobody represents us. Just wait, pray let them win, then you will see?
“Why are they being so arrogant? I can tell you they are arrogant because they believe somebody in the presidency is backing them. But, what they don’t understand is the same person in the presidency backed somebody as APC presidential aspirant and the person failed.
‘’I will tell Nigerians at the appropriate time who the person is in the presidency that is backing them. “Some of you don’t know what’s happening in the country. You’re being deceived, they’ll tell you, this Wike is causing problem, Wike is not causing problem. Wike is bringing peace to this country. Wike is advocating justice, Wike is advocating equity, Wike is advocating development.
“We have finished the presidential primaries. It is over. So when people said you want to destroy the party, because you didn’t win primary, I think they’re sick. They have some mental problems.”
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, who spoke during the commissioning, said Wike’s leadership has changed the fortunes of Rivers State and urged the people to support him.
Tambuwual has not resigned, says PDP Governors Forum DG
However, the Director-General of PDP Governors’ Forum, CID Maduabum said yesterday that speculations that the Chairman of the forum and Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwual, has resigned were untrue.
Maduabum said this in response to enquiries about news making the rounds that Tambuwual had resigned and was appointed Director General of the 2023 PDP Presidential Campaign Council.
Also speaking, the party’s spokesperson, Mr Ologunagba said: “It is not true as at this time, I have no information that he has resigned and if he has resigned, I will be in the best position to know.
“Right now, there are procedures for resignation that’s why when the BoT chairman resigned it was communicated to me and I released it to the public.”