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Atiku’s Camp Digs Deep



Despite the resignation of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Walid Jibrin and his replacement with a former President of the Senate, Senator Adolphus Wabara, the crisis in the party has persisted with the camp of its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar disclosing that sacking the party’s National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu would plunge the party into more constitutional crises.


The camp of the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike has also refused to be pacified by Jibrin’s resignation and has consistently demanded that Ayu should relinquish his position to a southerner to ensure a balance of power between the North and the South.


Wike yesterday also insisted that the members of his camp were not discouraged by the confidence vote passed on Ayu by the party’s National Executive Council (NEC), insisting that the right thing must be done.A member of the Rivers governor’s camp and Governor of Oyo State, Mr. Seyi Makinde also at the weekend argued that the main opposition party cannot be able to restructure Nigeria if it cannot restructure itself.


But speaking yesterday on ARISE NEWS Channel, a spokesperson of the Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Organisation, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, stated that sacking Ayu would cause more crises in the party.This is coming as the NEC has directed the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to unite all the governors elected on the platform of the party.According to Aniagwu, the PDP, as a listening party, would take a second look at the issues based on what was permissible by the law of the party.


He argued that removing Ayu would create a constitutional crisis for the party, which would snowball into greater problems than what the party was faced with.According to him, the main issue being canvassed by the stakeholders is the stepping down of the national chairman, which has now been overtaken by events following the vote of confidence by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party.“People may misinterpret it to mean calling the bluff of certain stakeholders but that is far from it because the party leadership examined the issues vis-a-vis the provisions of the party’s constitution as amended in 2017.


“When you look at that constitution, there are principal officers called the National Working Committee of the party led by the National Chairman and in the order of hierarchy, the Deputy National Chairman who must also come from the same zone with the National Chairman is next in line.“The third in line is the National Secretary and when you look at these positions, the National Chairman is from the North, the second in command is also from the North by the provision of the party’s constitution.


“In Section 45 of the party’s constitution, in the event of removal or resignation of the national chairman, the National Deputy Chairman takes over and acts in the position of that national chairman pending when the party can organise another election or do a NEC meeting to be able to decide as to how to rearrange the hierarchy of the party,” he explained.He said because the positions were elective, even if Ayu were to step down for power to come to the South, the provisions of the constitution of the party would also be breached.


“That can only happen if you can also decide to remove the Deputy National Chairman of the party who the lot immediately falls on by the provisions of the law.“Even if the party can solve that puzzle by bringing both National Chairman and Deputy to South, the third person in the hierarchy of the National Working Committee of the party is the National Secretary and that is in the South specifically Senator Samuel Anyanwu from Imo State.“Now if you decide to bring these two positions to the South, have you also made arrangements to take the National Secretary to the North?” he queried.


He stated that “because of these legal impediments the party examined it that given the time that we have which is just about six months to the general elections, that it may likely snowball into some form of crisis that could trigger a whole lot of discomfort within the party if we proceed to begin to make these changes that there is the tendency that the party may be embroiled in a crisis that would be worse than the one we are seeing at the moment.“That greater crisis is what the ruling APC is waiting to happen but the leadership of the party is intelligent enough and am happy that Governor Nyesom Wike and other leaders appreciate the need for the party to move as a whole into the 2023 general election.”


The campaign spokesman further said it was based on this that the party decided to look at what was possible at the moment and that gave room for the resignation of Senator Jibrin and the subsequent emergence of Senator Wabara as Chairman of the Board of Trustees.“The emergence of Wabara in the South to join the vice presidential candidate and National Secretary had created some form of balance in the interim.“But what is most important is that there is a bigger elephant here which is winning the 2023 general elections because Nigerians are looking up to the PDP to rescue the nation from where we are at the moment,” he said.


Speaking on the performance of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in Delta and the value he brings to the ticket as Vice-Presidential candidate, Aniagwu, who is Information Commissioner in Delta State, said that Okowa had performed tremendously with his five-point agenda.


No Retreat, No Surrender, Right Thing Must Be Done, Wike Insists


Meanwhile, Wike has declared that the members of his camp were not discouraged by the confidence vote passed on Ayu by the NEC, insisting the right thing must be done.Speaking yesterday at the reception held in Port Harcourt for defectors from other political parties into PDP, the governor said his camp would not fight and retreat.He said: “I was listening and watching; they said there is one man they called Secondus. They said he was dancing, celebrating that NEC gave their person a vote of confidence. He forgets history.


“Ask him if the same NEC through Aliyu Babangida moved a motion of vote of confidence supported by the same person, Ndudi Elumelu. They gave you (Secondus) a vote of confidence; what happened? You left office.“We don’t fight and go back. If you like you can have as many as 20 votes of confidence; it’s not my business. My business is to make sure the right thing is done, and the right thing must be done – whether today or tomorrow.”


“I’m not going to play party with the interest of my people. Rivers State is paramount to me first before any other person or group. So, the eyes can see what we have done. Up till today, we have never abandoned governance,” Wike said.The Rivers State governor stated that “because of the love we have for our people, we will continue to serve you till May 29, when by the grace of God, Siminalaye Fubara will be inaugurated next governor of Rivers.”


On the chances of Rivers PDP in the coming elections, Wike boasted, “If God gives you the ticket of PDP in this state, go home and sew your cloth for the inauguration day. Because what will any Rivers man or woman be saying that he or she wants to vote for any other person in Rivers State?“As a party, we have kept faith with our people. As a party, we have stood for our people. As a party, we have never allowed intimidation from any quarter and that is what we are talking about the interest of Rivers State.“Remember, before I came on board, one state had our property with them. As I came in as governor, with the support and prayer of our people we took all our property back.”


In a related development, a member of Wike’s camp and Governor of Oyo State, Makinde, has argued that the main opposition party would be unable to restructure Nigeria if it cannot restructure itself.Makinde spoke at the weekend after he inaugurated the Umuakatawom-Osaa-Okea-Ohuru road in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State.“We are saying that if PDP has promised to restructure Nigeria and we cannot restructure PDP, we are not ready to restructure Nigeria. That is the fact,” Makinde said.


NEC Mandates NWC to Unite PDP Govs


Meanwhile, the PDP’s NEC has directed the party’s NWC to unite all the governors elected on the platform of the party.THISDAY also gathered that the party has nominated all officials that would head the presidential campaign council, but will have to wait till the NWC reconciles all the governors of the party.


Speaking yesterday in an interview with THISDAY in Abuja, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba said that NEC mandated the NWC to form a committee of the whole to reconcile all governors of the party before the commencement of the presidential campaigns.He said that the NWC would also tap the expertise of the former Senate president, Senator Adolphus Wabara in this task, who is a diplomat.“We are commencing this week to meet with PDP governors. We will visit them as we don’t want to take anything for granted,” he added.


He said that they would meet Wike, adding that they are waiting to get a response from him on when to come to see him.It is expected that after the conclusion of the NWC reconciliatory talks, then the party will be in a position to release the names of the members of the presidential campaign council. Ologunagba also said: “NEC approved a unified campaign structure across the country for the PDP for the 2023 general election which will focus more on the grassroots.”

Culled from THISDAY

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