By Chukwudi Nweje, Lagos
Embattled National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Senator Iyorcha Ayu consolidated his position Saturday as four South West chapters of the party – Lagos, Ondo, Ekiti, Ogun – have backed him to continue in office.
In a statement entitled ‘PDP South West Spokespersons Stand with Iyorcha Ayu as National Chairman’, issued at a press conference jointly addressed by Hakeem Amode, Kennedy Peretei, Raphael ‘Wumi Adeyanju, and Asiwaju Bankole Akinloye, Publicity Secretary of Lagos, Ondo, Ekiti, and Ogun, respectively, the state chapters of the PDP dissociated themselves from calls for the resignation of Ayu as National Chairman of the party.
Osun State was not represented at the parley because the caretaker committee-led chapter is not fully constituted, while Oyo State chapter was absent.
Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, the zonal leader of the PDP in the South West, had told Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the party’s presidential candidate, during his recent visit to Oyo State, that Ayu must step down as national chairman fo peace to reign in the PDP His position tallies with that of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
“On behalf of the leadership of the PDP state chapters in Ondo, Osun, Ogun, Ekiti and Lagos state we, the Publicity Secretaries in these states wish to affirm our faithfulness to the PDP constitution which clearly stipulates procedure for leadership election and removal. As the only political party that has not changed name or logo since its establishment in 1998, the party cannot afford to appear unserious. We do not see any justification for the resignation of our National Chairman, especially at this very critical stage of preparation for elections. Dr Iyorchia Ayu was duly elected at a properly constituted National Convention with a four year mandate and recently received vote of confidence of the party’s National Executive Committee, at its 97th meeting in Abuja,” they said.
They noted that everything possible should be done to protect the sanctity of the PDP Constitution (2017 as amended) to avoid throwing the PDP into avoidable crisis.
The statement further said: “We must do everything to maintain the sanctity of the PDP constitution, and any action that undermines the spirit of the party’s constitution at this crucial stage can only be considered as a deliberate attempt to sabotage the party’s efforts at winning in the coming general election. We appeal to the leadership of our party in the South West region to work together to respect the constitution of our party because, if we cannot respect our own rules, guidelines and constitution as a party, how will Nigerians trust us to respect the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria when voted into the office.”
On Governor Makinde’s insistence that Ayu must resign to address the regional imbalance in the party, Kennedy Peretei the Publicity Secretary of the Ondo State chapter of the party noted that while Gov Makinde is the leader of the party in the South West by virtue of his office, that the PDP National Executive Council (NEC) to which he (Makinde) also belongs has already passed a vote of confidence on Ayu.
“The concern of our zonal leaders and their determination to protect the interest of our members against any form of marginalisation is deeply appreciated. However, our focus should be directed mainly to encouraging our teeming members to rally round our candidates vying for the Houses of Assembly, House of Representatives, Senate and Governorship positions and ensure that they win elections,” he said.
The party publicity secretaries pledge their support and commitment to the Presidential Candidate of the party, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa.
“The mission to rescue, rebuild and redirect Nigeria is task that must done, to save our country from imminent total collapse,” the statement said.
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