Embattled PDP Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu has boasted that Wike and his cohorts cannot remove him as the party chair.
Newsonline reports that the crisis rocking the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) worsened over the weekend as the embattled National Chairman of the party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, warned Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State and other critics of his leadership that he has the powers to stop them from realising their political ambitions on the platform of the party ahead of the 2023 general election.
This online news understands that Ayu and the governor of his home state, Ortom, have been at loggerheads following the decision of the latter to align with Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State in the call for the resignation of the PDP National Chairman after the emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the party.
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Wike had contested for the presidential ticket and lost to Atiku.
Ayu and Ortom both hail from the North West senatorial district of Benue State and the governor is gunning for the senatorial seat in the National Assembly on the platform of the PDP.
But Ayu, while speaking about the disagreement between him and Ortom at the weekend, said he has the power to stop the Benue State governor from realising his senatorial ambition on the platform of the party.
The feud between the two politicians has divided the opposition party in the state.
Addressing a crowd of supporters on his arrival at his home in Gboko last Friday, the embattled party boss said he is capable of stopping any candidate in the state, who is vying on the platform of the PDP from achieving their ambitions if he decides to reciprocate the attacks on him from some quarters. He however said as a father to all and sundry, he would not react in such manner.
Ayu said: “I have been silent over all the things you are hearing against me because I don’t want any crack in the party I belong in my state. I have the powers to say you and you will not go anywhere, because I will insist that I must sign before you go anywhere.
“But I have signed for all candidates produced by the PDP to go ahead in their dreams. Whether I like it or not I signed.
“So I was doing that believing that I cannot shoot myself in the leg. I want Benue to come first by winning all elections so that Nigerians will say that the National Chairman has delivered his state to PDP with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar winning 90 per cent of the votes and Titus Uba as governor in 2023. Nothing should worry you, my people.
“Since I started politics more than 30 years ago, you have never rejected me, you are always supporting me. They say a prophet has no respect in his home, but my case is different. I am overwhelmed by this great show of love.
“The PDP is one and not divided. I am trying my best not to disappoint the Benue people and Nigerians in general. So if you hear that they want to chase Ayu out as national chairman, don’t be worried; nobody is going to sack me as national chairman of our party.
“I will leave the seat on a day that God permits. It is God that enthrones leadership. He uses people to enthrone a person over others and protects that person. I want to assure you that all these days, God has been protecting me.
“Even when I went on sick leave abroad, God is still protecting me. The Tiv people have suffered so much in this country.”
Turning down an appeal by elders of the town that he should meet with the governor so the duo can discuss their differences, the PDP chairman said: “I don’t have any problem with Governor Ortom, so I won’t meet with him. I will not even go before any traditional ruler for any settlement. There is no need for that anymore.”
Urging the people of the state to support Atiku’s presidential ambition, he added that “we are yet to get our share of the national cake, so my charge to you is not to relent in prayers so that this time around come 2023, God will give us a president who will work closely with the governor of our state to wipe out our tears.
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“During Senator J S Tarka’s era, God gave us a Fulani man, Alhaji Shehu Shagari. Did he fight the Tiv nation? Did he kill our people?
“He appointed five ministers from Benue State and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Chaha, Paul Unongo (Minister of Steel), Isaac Shaahu (Minister of Communications), Mrs. Elizabeth Ivase (Education Minister) and Audu Ogbeh, etc.
“Another Fulani man, Yar Adua, appointed a Tiv man, Michael Kaase Aondoakaa, his Minister of Justice.
“Today, the standard bearer of PDP, Atiku Abubakar, who is not only a chieftaincy title holder of the Tiv people as the Zege Mule U Tiv, he is my friend. He told me his plans for the Tiv nation, that he will wipe away the tears of our people.
“So nobody should try to bring any troubles to you. I am telling you today, PDP is one party. A party that has divisions does not win elections. No matter the strength of any party, if it does not have unity, it will lose elections.”
Fresh rumpus as Wike’s camp, others push for NEC meeting
As the embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Iyorchia Ayu, digs in as he continue to preside over the affairs of the opposition party in spite of lingering calls for his resignation by prominent chieftains of the party, some allies of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and other dissatisfied members of the PDP are hatching a fresh plot to unseat him.
The Nation reliably gathered that supporters of the Rivers State governor in the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) and some state chapter chairmen of the PDP, especially from the southern part of the country, may have concluded plan to push for a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the troubled party as part of moves to ensure Senator Ayu is forced out of office.
Also, our correspondent was reliably informed that barring any last-minute changes, some gubernatorial candidates of the PDP will publicly demand the resignation of the National Chairman of the party and support the plan for a NEC meeting.
A governorship candidate from the southeast, who spoke with The Nation at the weekend, said: “Most of the candidates of the party, especially in the south, are worried about the current developments in the party.
“Like Wike and his people have argued several times, it is unclear how our presidential candidate, AbubakarAtiku and Ayu, the National Chairman, want us to sell the PDP to our people in the south.
“What are we to tell them is in the party for us? How do we tell them to vote for a party that is carrying on as if the south does not matter? These are the challenges we face currently.
“And as candidates who are desirous of winning elections, we can no longer afford to keep quiet on this matter. We have met the gladiators and appealed to them to put the general interest of the party over and above all other interests.
“But is appears no one is interested in our plight. We have resolved to take our fate in our hands by speaking out.”
Speaking further on the crisis within the party, the governorship hopeful said the call for the resignation of the National Chairman is not abating. He urged Senator Ayu to consider the interest of the party and throw in the towel.
He said: “There is no reason why he can’t resign in the interest of the party. He is a father to all of us and our political future should be more important to him than anything else.
“This is our position and that is why we are ready to support the move for a NEC meeting in search of a resolution of this matter ahead of the 2023 election.
“We are in support of the call for a NEC meeting. We must sit down as a party and discuss this matter again. We cannot continue to pretend that it is not hurting our aspirations in our various states.”
The Nation reliably gathered that some members of the NWC, who are dissatisfied with Ayu, have mooted the idea of getting the party to summon a NEC meeting as soon as possible.
“As at the close of work on Friday, we have more than half of the NWC membership on our side. The plan to have a NEC meeting that will revisit the crisis in the party is waxing stronger.
“Soon, it will be difficult for anybody to continue to ignore the dissatisfaction of members of the committee with our National Chairman.
“Many state chapter chairmen are also in support of the decision that we discuss this matter as a family and take a decision while putting the interest of the party over and above all personal and group considerations,” he said.
Another source, while responding to a question about an earlier NEC meeting that gave Ayu a vote of confidence, said “if he got a vote of confidence and the crisis within the party went from bad to worse, then it is important that we re-examine the issues.
“It is the same people who gave the vote of confidence we are calling on to come and see how far that decision has taken us as a party ahead of the 2023 general elections.”
Atiku kicks as Fitch predicts Tinubu’s victory
The Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation has dismissed as speculative a report credited to Fitch Ratings which predicted the victory of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in next year’s presidential election.
A statement issued by a spokesman for the Atiku/Okowa campaign, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday said the report was merely contrived, imaginary and completely illusory.
“It is a trivial opinion of ignorant interlopers which does not conform with any empirical or substantiated indicators regarding the direction of the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria.
“While we do not want to conclude on the opinion already widely held in the public space that the report was procured or not emanating officially from Fitch, especially, given the desperation and devious antecedents of the Tinubu Campaign Organisation and the All Progressives Congress (APC), it is however important to state that these conjectures are direct opposite of the reality on ground.
“It is important to note that the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has no electoral fighting chance before the PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar and his running mate Ifeanyi Okowa.
“Contrary to the report being peddled by the APC, Asiwaju Tinubu is battling with trust issues, stamina concerns, massive open rejection by majority of voters across the country, mass exodus from his APC into PDP due to the abysmal failures of his party in addition to his (Asiwaju’s) self-confessed selfish motives for being in the presidential race,” the statement said.
The PDP campaign spokesman said that unlike Atiku Abubakar, Asiwaju Tinubu has no strong, organic and reliable political base anywhere in the country and cannot get the required 25 percent in majority of the states of the federation.
Continuing, the PDP said: “Across the north, the APC presidential candidate does not have a stable political structure with the daily decamping of hordes of Nigerians in the region who voted for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 and 2019 now crossing over to the PDP to support Atiku Abubakar in the 2023 elections.
“In the south, Asiwaju Tinubu has no solid base in the South South and South East where he has been roundly rejected. Even in the South West, the former Lagos State governor has been demystified as evidenced in his party’s devastating loss in the last governorship election in Osun State; a state considered to be his ancestry home, to the PDP.
“Asiwaju Tinubu has been booed in states of the South West and he has lost his political allies, cultural institutions and foot soldiers in Lagos State and other parts of the South West because of his selfish posturing and trust issues.
“Moreover, the APC presidential candidate has not demonstrated the desired capacity, experience, stamina as well as selfless disposition to lead a nation like Nigeria.
“The reality of the 2023 presidential elections is that the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar has the highest organic followership cutting across all demographics like age, class, ethnic, sectional and even political affiliations in the country as Nigerians believe in his proven capacity, competence, experience, readiness and will power to lead our nation at this point.
“Nigerians should therefore disregard the said Fitch Report as it does not reflect the reality of the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria.”