Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Council, Mr Charles Aniagwu, has said the call for the removal of the party’s National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, is ill-timed, with the 2023 general election a few months away.
Speaking on “Good Morning Nigeria” on NTA Network, on Friday, Aniagwu said those calling for Ayu’s removal based on equity and justice were not wrong but appealed that they look at the bigger picture because the period was too close to the 2023 general elections.
The Presidential Campaign Spokesman said Ayu never denied agreeing to quit if a presidential candidate emerged from the North, noting that Ayu will quit if the party wins the presidential election. The national chairman was clear when he said if the Party ask him to quit he will. The party did not make that request, the NEC passed a vote of confidence on the NWC.
According to him, Ayu has never denied what he said, be let us look at what he said and the laws of the party. Let us always think of the country first and not about North and South that tends to divide us.
“In developed climes nobody talks about zones and regions, they talk about what works for the people. President Buhari is from Katsina today but I am not too sure that life has become far better for those in Katsina than it was in 2015.
“In 2006, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was President and Ahmadu Ali was National Chairman, the primary was conducted and Umaru Musa Yar’Adua of blessed memory emerged Presidential candidate of the party.
“Ahmadu Ali prosecuted that election and Yar’Adua became President before the party held a Convention to bring in somebody from the South and nobody asked Ahmadu Ali to leave because a presidential candidate had emerged from the North.
“When Jonathan became President after the death of Yar’Adua, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor remained National Chairman of the party until it was time for another election.
“These are tenured offices and the issue of zoning is only in the offices and positions, the position of a presidential candidate is not an office, it only becomes an office after winning election,” Aniagwu said.
He said the presidential candidate is not opposed to Ayu stepping down however it should be done after the general elections.
“The difference between what we are saying and what Governor Nyesom Wike and his group are saying is time line.
“Our presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and our National Chairman Iyorchia Ayu are on the same page with them to return the National Chairman to the South but that can only be done after the general elections because we have a bigger picture in view.
“Again Ayu’s stepping down is not the problem, going by our party constitution, moving the Chairman from the North to the South is the problem because the Deputy National is expected to take over from him by virtue of Section 45 of the party’s constitution.
“So even if Ayu leaves, what happens to Iliya Damagun who is the Deputy National Chairman?
“What happens to the National Secretary Senator Samuel Anyanwu who hails from Imo State. By the convention and principles of our party both of them don’t come from the same zone because both of them actually run the party,”
He said when leaders come together to hold meetings the majority of the people are not usually part of those meetings, pointing out that “it is the law that represents and protects the interest of those people who are not opportuned to be in that meeting.
“Ayu has said if the party asks him to go he will leave, but the NEC of the party has met and they have considered the issues and came to a conclusion that it was not the right time for that move.
“And so we appeal to our great leader, Governor Nyesom Wike and other stakeholders of the party to respect the decision of NEC on the matter by exercising patience with the party until after the general elections.
“The reason why we are pleading with them is because Atiku wants to run with everybody on board, in six months time this election would have been done and dusted and these changes would be effected,” he said.