Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State on Wednesday insisted on the national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Iyorcha Ayu, stepping down to give room for fairness and equity, saying this is the only way out of the crisis rocking the umbrella party.
Makinde spoke during an interactive session with the presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2023 general election, Abubakar Atiku and chieftains of the party from the South West zone.
Atiku arrived in Ibadan in company of Governors Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State (his running mate); Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto, Ademola Adeleke, governor-elect, Osun State; Bala Mohammad of Bauchi State, Ladi Adebutu, governorship candidate of PDP in Ogun State.
Others were former governors, including Babangida Aliyu, Niger State; Olusegun Mimiko, Ondo State; Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Osun State; Ayodele Fayose, Ekiti State; as well as Taofek Arapaja, Dino Melaye, Raymond Dokpesi and Soji Adagunodo and Eyitayo Jegede, among others.
At the meeting, Makinde not only insisted on Ayu’s resignation, he also said there were still other issues that the Southwest PDP believed should be resolved going into the elections.
Makinde, who received the PDP chieftains alongside his deputy, Adebayo Lawal and speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly, Debo Ogundoyin, noted that the PDP must restructure itself to be able to restructure Nigeria.
According to him, if we want a unified Nigeria, we must unify the PDP first. If we want a government of national unity, it must reflect in the PDP. If we want to restructure Nigeria, we must restructure PDP first.”
“Our presidential candidate is from north-east; our national chairman is from north central, the director-general of Atiku Campaign, Aminu Tambuwal is from the north-west, so the PDP national chairman should step down.”
He noted that one of the conditions to balance the equation is to choose the national chairman from the south since the presidential candidate is from the north.
“We must speak the truth. The truth is that we don’t have any issue either with the party or the candidate. We don’t have any issue with the PDP. This is not about individuals. Those are the issues that are behind us, it has happened, it has happened. The issue is that we must restructure Nigeria if we want unity in Nigeria. But, we must restructure PDP itself before we restructure Nigeria, so the south-west PDP is asking the PDP chairman to resign. The south-west PDP is telling the chairman to step down”.
Atiku in his remark stated that Ayu’s resignation must be done in accordance with the party constitution, rules, regulations and practice, stressing that what Governor Makinde was requesting is achievable if it is backed up with the constitution of the party.
“We cannot do anything outside our constitution except it is amended; we cannot do anything unless the law is amended. Ayu must go through our constitution, rules, regulations, and our practice, otherwise, we cannot give the kind of leadership Nigerians want.”
Atiku, however, urged the PDP not to allow the issue to derail it from winning the next elections, adding that “it is possible, it is achievable, we have done it before and we have started doing it.”
Umar Damagum, the PDP deputy national chairman (North), speaking on behalf of the national chairman, urged members of the party to be committed and work for the emergence of the party in the coming elections.
While commending Governor Makinde for hosting the programme, he noted that the choice of the venue for the meeting was deliberate because Ibadan is the capital of politics in the south-west and Nigeria at large.
Aminu Tambuwal, Sokoto State governor and chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, said the meeting was a sign of good things to come, adding that the south-west would come back to PDP in 2023.