Ayu: Wike’s backers withdraw from Atiku 2023 campaign council

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The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is far from over as the group backing the governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike, has withdrawn from the campaign council of the party’s 2023 presidential candidate, Mr. Atiku Abubakar.

The group which rose from its meeting in Port Harcourt on Wednesday (today) vowed not to take part in the campaign unless the party’s national chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu resigned his position.

Party members who attended the meeting were the governor of Oyo State, Mr. Seyi Makinde, former Governors Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo, Ayo Fayose of Ekiti, Donald Duke of Cross River, Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe, and Jonah Jang of Plateau, and a former attorney general of the federation and minister of justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke.

Others were former minister of information, Prof Jerry Gana, south-south chairman of the PDP, Mr. Dan Orbih, a former deputy Speaker of the house representative, Mr. Chibudom Nwuche, chief the party, Mr. Bode George, among others.

Reading the communiqué after the meeting, George said the campaign council list released by the party which has the name of Wike is “putting the cart before horse”.

“The published presidential campaign council list translates to putting the cart before horse, the pertinent issue remains the Ayu leadership.

“We therefore resolve that senator Iyorchia Ayu resigns as the national chairman for an acting chairman of southern Nigeria extraction.

“Consequently, we resolved not to participate in the campaign council in whatever capacity until the resignation of Dr Iyorchia Ayu,” he said.

Also speaking, Jang said Ayu was partial for assisting one side to score a goal during a football match and later blew the whistle.

He accused Ayu of compromising the May 28 and 29 presidential primaries of the party by embracing the governor of Sokoto State, Mr. Aminu Tanbuwal and calling him the “hero of the convention.”

He said Ayu’s conduct showed that the outcome of the primary was preplanned to short-change the other contestants.

“For a national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu to go and embrace Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tanbuwal, calling him the hero of the convention meant that there was a private arrangement that was done with Tambuwal to shortchange other contestants including Governor Wike.

“Here was a referee, who helped one of his sides to score a goal and then blew the whistle. This is not what we formed the PDP to do for Nigerians. Therefore, we unequivocally ask that Ayu must step down.”

For his part, Gana said: “You cannot build on a faulty foundation. This call for the chairman to step down or resign is not because any of us is aggrieved but because we believe it is important to ensure a just, fair, principled, and constitutional structure for the party.

“If we want to restructure Nigeria, we should have the courage to restructure our party.”

He stated that the group’s support for Wike was for the sake of equity and justice in the party, not neither because he lost the presidential primary nor because he was not chosen as the vice presidential running mate.

For Makinde, his hope is that “the powers that be listen to the voice of reason and do the needful.”

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