Atiku/ Wike face-off: Anxiety as PDP awaits reconciliation reports
…As BoT Chairman insists on change in party’s leadership
The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP), over the face-off between its Presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar and Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, has continued to raise anxiety in the party, especially as parties prepare for next month’s flag-off of political campaigns by the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC)
BusinessDay gathered in Abuja on Monday that the face-off between the two gladiators has continued to take a toll on the party’s preparations, as the party is yet to form the Presidential campaign Council that will drive Atiku’s Presidential campaign.
BusinessDay gathered that the face-off has deeply divided members of the National Working Committee (NWC), following insistence by Governor Wike on the removal of the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, as a panacea for peace.
Wike’s position seems to be gaining acceptance, especially as some of the stakeholders are insisting that the party invokes Article 7 (2) (c) of the PDP Constitution, which deals with the Federal Character Principle and zoning policy of the party
The party’s Board of Trustees Chairman, Walid Jibrin had insisted on restructuring the National Executive Committee ( NEC) to reflect the federal character principle, as contained in Article 7 (2) (c), of the party.
The Principles of Zoning and Article 7 (2) (c) of the Peoples Democratic Party Constitution 2006 as Amended, provides that: “In pursuance of the principle of equity, Justice and fairness, the party shall adhere to the policy of rotation and zoning of the party and public elective offices and it shall be enforced by the appropriate executive committee at all levels”.
Jibrin while speaking at a Channel television program weekend, had stated that it is unfair for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to have both its presidential candidate and the post of the party’s National Chairman, from the northern region of the country,
Jibrin, like the Wike camp, believes that since Atiku Abubakar, emerged as the party’s Presidential candidate, it is unfair for Iyorchia Ayu, to remain as the party’s National Chairman
“To tell the truth, it will not be fair for the president of Nigeria to be from the north, the chairman of the party from the north, and the BoT chairman from the north,”
He assured that the party will take a firm decision on the issue when it receives the reports of the reconciliation committee this week.
“By next week, we will get the report. And when we find out that somebody is wrong in what has happened we will come up openly to tell the party that it is wrong. Whatever we can do, we will do it in the interest of the party to make the party remain as PDP.”
The Wike team is led by the former Governors Segun Mimiko of Ondo State, Donald Duke of Cross Rivers, and Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe; a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke; and a former member of the House of Representatives, Nnena Ukeje.
This is just as Atiku’s team has former Senate President, David Mark; Adamawa State Governor Umaru Fintiri, a former Cross River Governor, Liyel Imoke; a former PDP governorship candidate in Ondo State, Eyitayo Jegede; and former Senator Ben Obi.
A member of the reconciliation team who spoke to BusinessDay in Abuja on Monday insisted that the party needs a change in leadership to reflect the provisions in its constitution
According to him, “When two Elephants fight, the grass bears the brunt. That position seemed to have now found fulfillment in the current political debacle facing our party, ahead of its preparations for the 2023 presidential campaign
“We are worried because no one knows how it may end. But the truth is that there is a general consensus that the party need new leadership, now that the primaries are over”
He disclosed that “ Wike’s position has not changed. He is insisting that Ayu must go for the purposes of fairness and natural Justice”
It will however be recalled that Ayu had recently insisted that he will not resign adding that he has a tenure of four years.
Ayu’s Media aide, Simon Imobo-Tswam, in a tweet, stated that “The PDP National Chairman, Dr. Iyiochia Ayu, has not resigned and has no plan of resigning. “For clarity and emphasis, he was elected for a tenure of four years.”