From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South West has insisted that the National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, must step down from his position for the PDP in the Southern part of Nigeria to be included in the top hierarchy of the party.
The request was tabled before the former Vice President of Nigeria and the party’s 2023 presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, as well as the Delta State governor and the PDP vice presidential candidate, Ifeanyi Okowa, who were at the Theophilus Ogunlesi Hall, University College Hospital (UCH), in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, on Wednesday for an interactive session with the South West stakeholders.
The request of PDP in the South West was presented by the Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, who was the chief host on the occasion. A former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who spoke before Makinde, on behalf of all former governors of PDP in the zone, bad said the zone has a message and that the message would be presented by Makinde, who is the leader of the party in the zone.
Apart from Oyinlola other former PDP governor in the zone that attended the programme, included Dr. Olusegun Mimiko of Info State, and Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State.
When the microphone was handed over to Makinde, he stated that the combination of Atiku and Okowa have the capacity to take Nigeria from the depth of hopelessness to the place of prosperity. He added that the internal wrangling in the party was gears toward putting things straight so that the party coukd approach the next year’s general elections with a united front. He states that APC has not done very well for the country.
On the message of the South West PDP for Atiku, Makinde said: “We must practice what be preach. If we want to unify Nigeria, we must unify PDP first. If we want a government of national unity, the faces in PDP must reflect national unity. If you want to restructure Nigeria, we must have the willingness to do what is right, to bring inclusivity into PDP. Do we have the capacity? Do we have the candidate with the capacity? The answer is a resounding yes.
“So, the message from the South West region is that there are few things that you can do for us post election. Once the election is won, there are things we wish you can do for us. But before the election, the South West PDP, wants a situation where your message to Nigerians can resonate.
“The only way that can happen is if everything that PDP stands for in terms of unifying the country, in terms of restructuring the country, in terms of looking forward to the government of national unity, that must be reflected in PDP moving towards the election.
“So, your excellency sir, the South West PDP is asking that the National Working Committee of PDP should be restructured, such that what you have in the face of Nigeria right now that our presidential candidate is from North East, the PDP National Chairman is from the North Central.
“What was floated few days back was that the Sokoto State governor, my brother, Aminu Tambuwal, is the Director-General of the presidential campaign council. He is from the North West. May be that has happened, may be it has not happened, but he has the quality and the capacity, to be the DG of this campaign. There is no doubt a out that.
“But we must resolve the issue of what we have in the face of Nigeria, by asking the National Chairman, to step down so that the PDP in the Southern part of the country will feel included in the top hierarchy of PDP.”
In his address, Atiku stated that the message from the South West PDP was achievable, adding that every step that should be taken in the party for the National Chairman, Ayu, to step down, should be in accordance with the party’s constitution, conventions, rules, regulations and practice.
His words: “We cannot do anything outside our constitution, except it is amended. We cannot do anything unless the law are amended. Ayu must go through our constitution, rules, regulations, and our practice; otherwise, we cannot give the kind of leadership Nigerians want.”
Atiku, however, urged PDP not to allowed the issue to derail them from winning the next elections, saying the most important assignment before the party is winning the 2023 presidential poll. He stated that PDP can reclaim the presidency it lost to APC in 2015
He added: “It is possible. It is achievable. We have done it before and we have started doing it.”
The vice presidential candidate, Ifeanyi Okowa, in his address, noted that Nigeria is sick and needs a medication to be healed. He stated that the proper medication capable of curing the country from poverty, division that is threatening the corporate existence of the country, insecurity and so on, is Atiku Abubakar.
National Chairman of the party, Ayu, who was represented by the Deputy National Chairman (North) of the party, Ambassador Umar Damagum, urged the South West PDP to ensure electoral victory of PDP during the 2023 general elections. He said the party has dynamic rewards system and would ensure that dividends of democracy is delivered to all parts of the country.
The Chairman, PDP governors Forum, Aminu Tambuwa, of Sokoto State, described Nigeria as a plural society, where Muslim-Muslim and Christian-Christian tickets cannot work, saying those flying the cards have failed. The programme, he said, is a sign of good things to come. He was optimistic that PDP would reclaim the whole of South West starting from Lagos and Ogun States.
Speakers at the programme also included Osun State Governor elect, Sen Ademola Adeleke; former deputy governor of Ekiti State, Abiodun Olujinmi, who spoke on behalf of all the PDP National Assembly members; and National Vice Chairman of the party in the South West, Soji Adagunodo. They all expressed confidence in the ability and capacity of Atiku to restore the lost glory of Nigeria.
The dignitaries at the event also included Governor Bala Mohammad of Bauchi State; Deputy National Chairman of the party in the South, Amb Taofeek Arapaja; as well as Senator Dino Melaye, and Chief Raymond Dokpesi.
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