Ayu must go, Wike insists
Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike has insisted that the resignation of Dr. Iyorchia Ayu as National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) remains the only precursor for reconciliation in the party. The Governor said nobody could convince him to drop the request of his group that the PDP should yield the national chairmanship position to the South.
Wike said his effort for amicable resolution of the crisis rocking the PDP was being frustrated by rent seekers in the party. The Governor further described people criticising a Muslim-Muslim ticket and at the same time supporting another eight years of northern presidency as hypocrites.
Wike spoke when he hosted Cross River candidates for governorship, senatorial, House of Representatives, House of Assembly elections and local government party chairmen at his private residence in Rumueprikom.
A statement by Wike’s Special Assistant, Media, Kelvin Ebiri, said the Governor, during the meeting which was attended by the party’s South south National Vice-Chairman, Chief Dan Orbih, explained that the crisis in the party had lingered because some vested interests, whom he described as “hyenas and rent seekers,” had remained obstinate and averse to justice, fairness and equity in PDP.
He said: “We have finished presidential primaries, we have a presidential candidate. Is Wike saying remove presidential candidate? Is Wike saying remove vice & presidential candidate? So, what are you begging me for? All I am saying, and I will continue to say is that you have taken president, give us (national) chairman.
“Nobody wants to speak the truth. If I am saying remove the presidential candidate, if I am saying remove the vice-presidential candidate, then you will say why is he doing this.”
Wike maintained that he could not be convinced to support the current status quo where the PDP presidential candidate, national chairman and the Director-General of the presidential campaign council were all from the north.
According to him, refusal to cede the national chairmanship position to the South would be a recipe for crisis. He said: “He (national chairman) said if the presidential candidate comes from the north, he will resign , which means he has had this in mind. Now, the thing has come to reality, now resign, no. And people are saying go and talk to Wike.
“I’ve accepted the presidential candidate, I have accepted the vice-presidential candidate, what’s the problem again. You, fulfil your part. Let the South have something, that is all I’m preaching. You cannot have presidential candidate, national chairman, director general of the campaign.”
The Governor said it was hypocritical for some people in the PDP to criticise Muslim/Muslim ticket, while supporting that a particular region of the country should retain the presidency for another eight years. He insisted that for the sake of holistic peace, PDP should adhere to the tenets of its constitution, which explicitly recommended that when a presidential candidate emerged from the north, the national chairman should be from the South.
The Governor said the clamour for the chairman of the PDP to be zoned to the South would persist until justice, fairness and equity prevailed in the PDP.
He said: “This is period that power game is being played. If you don’t have it now, forget it. If anybody tells you, let (Iyorchia) Ayu resign after election is conducted, then you are a foolish person. This is the time decision is being made.
“This is the time the presidential candidate, national chairman and the leader of campaign will sit, when election is won in February, before the president is sworn in, decisions would have been made.”
The Governor disclosed that he had commenced full blown politicking ahead of the 2023 general elections, adding that those, who wanted to undermine him and his allies would be doing so at their own peril. He thanked Cross River PDP delegates for the support given to him during the presidential primary.
According to him, he will remain eternally grateful to them and all the other delegates that voted for him.
He said: “If there is nothing I achieved, I can go home and sleep that I won Cross River State. Not only did I win, I won very well. I feel so happy and that tells you of people who have character of steadfastness. People who will never be pushed around for whatever it is. People who believe in the principles of life, people who believe in fairness, justice and equity.”
Wike said the visit would spur him to continue to support the party in Cross River ahead of the 2023 general elections and used the occasion to announce the donation of 25 buses to the party.
“This visit will spur me the more to give you support. I am not coming to Cross River to vote, but you are my friends. I have a right to support you.”