Following the resignation of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, his counterpart in Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, former Information Minister Prof. Jerry Gana, and other notable party chieftains from the party’s presidential campaign council, the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) called an emergency meeting on Wednesday.
The Wike camp made the announcement following a meeting on Wednesday morning at Wike’s private residence in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, about their decision not to take part in the campaign council, which was supposed to be inaugurated the following Wednesday.
They based their choice on the party’s chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, refusing to resign, arguing that the South must have the position in order to achieve balance, justice, and equity.
In response to the development, the main opposition party held a lengthy meeting to discuss how the withdrawal might affect the party’s plans.
Since Wike’s camp announced their departure from the campaign council, the party has been meeting, according to Debo Ologunagba, the party’s spokesman, who also said that the National Working Committee would declare its decision today (Thursday).
“As a party, we need to take a firm position to rebuild and rebrand our party. We have been in a marathon meeting since morning (Wednesday). But one thing is clear: no one has rejected our presidential candidate; that is very important. The meeting will continue tomorrow (today) and after the meeting, we will make our position clear,’’ he stated.
The Wike side, however, argued that only the dismissal of Ayu would cause them to change their minds.
After losing the presidential nomination to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in the May primary elections, Wike has so far refused to cooperate with Ayu.
In a statement that he personally signed in response to the resignation from his campaign council on Wednesday, Atiku repeated his resolve not to become involved in the calls for Ayu’s dismissal.
The statement titled, ‘Let us join hands and move on with the task of nation building,’ read in part, “Early this morning (Wednesday), my attention was drawn to a news clip in which several very senior and influential members of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party, addressed the press and, amongst other things, declared that they are withdrawing forthwith from the Presidential Campaign Council set up by our party to judiciously plan and prosecute the general elections set to hold in February and March 2023, on the one hand; and reiterated their earlier calls for the resignation or removal from office of the national chairman of our party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, on the other hand.
“The people that addressed the press must have their reasons for withdrawing from the Presidential Campaign Council, and I will not speculate as to what those reasons may be.
“Personally, I am quite surprised with this withdrawal because, as I have been informed by officials of our party, apart from the Rivers State chapter of the PDP, all the remaining states of the federation submitted names of people who they wanted included in the Presidential Campaign Council.
“On the calls for the resignation or removal from office of our national chairman, however, I must reiterate what I have said severally in public and in private: the decision for Dr. Iyorchia Ayu to resign from office is personal to Dr. Ayu and, neither I nor anyone else can make that decision for him.’’
The presidential candidate added that because the PDP is a party established, organized, and governed by law and its constitution, and because he is a committed democrat and firm believer in the rule of law and democratic tenets, he believes that everything must be done in accordance with, and in conformity with, both the law and the PDP constitution.
He noted, “If Dr. Ayu is to be removed from office, it must be done in accordance with the laws that set out the basis for such removal. In any event, you will all recall that the very body that is empowered by law to initiate his removal from office has already passed a vote of confidence in him.’’
Therefore, he made an appeal to the party members to join his effort to guide the nation and reconstruct it.
In addition, Atiku encouraged the party members who had resigned from his campaign council to reconsid