The camp of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has reportedly pulled out of the Campaign Council of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The Wike camp also vowed not to partake in Atiku’s campaign activities pending the resignation of the party’s National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu.
Naija News learned that the Wike camp made the decisions at a strategic meeting held in Port Harcourt in the early hours of Wednesday.
It was gathered that the Wike Camp decided to hold the meeting following the vote of confidence passed on Ayu as the party’s national chairman by the National Executive Committee (NEC) despite their demand for his resignation.
In a resolution read by a former PDP Deputy National Chairman, Bode George, the Wike camp insisted that its members will not work with Atiku until Ayu resigns and allow an acting Chairman from the South to lead the party.
George stated that the Wike camp stated that their position was not negotiable as the continued stay of Ayu as the part chairman undermines the unity and constitution of the party.
He said: “Senator Iyorchia Ayu must resign as the National Chairman of the party for an acting Chairman of the Southern Nigerian extraction to emerge and lead the party on the national campaign.
“Consequently, we resolve not to participate in the campaign council in whatever capacity until the resignation of Dr. Iyorchia Ayu”.
Jonah Jang Speaks
A former Plateau Governor, Senator Jonah Jang, accused the embattled national chairman of compromising the PDP presidential primary through his conduct.
Jang said Ayu calling Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State the hero of the party’s presidential primary meant that there was a private arrangement done to shortchange Wike and other contestants.
The former Plateau governor, therefore, insisted that Ayu must step down and allow a Southerner to take over.
He said: “For a National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu to go and embrace Sokoto Governor, Aminu Tanbuwal, calling him the hero of the convention meant that there was a private arrangement that was done with Tambuwal to shortchange other contestants including Governor Wike.
“Here was a referee, who helped one of his sides to score a goal and then blew the whistle. This is not what we formed the PDP to do for Nigerians. Therefore, we unequivocally ask that Ayu must step down”.
A former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, said the call for Ayu’s resignation was neither because Wike lost the presidential primary nor because he was not chosen as the Vice-presidential running mate.
Gana stated that the call for Ayu to step down was because of equity and justice in the party.
The former minister pointed out that if the party intended to restructure Nigeria it should have the courage to restructure itself.
He said: “You cannot build on a faulty foundation. This call for the chairman to step down or resign is not because any of us is aggrieved but because we believe it is important to ensure a just, fair, principled and constitutional structure for the party.
“If we want to restructure Nigeria, we should have the courage to restructure our party.”
Also speaking, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State asked the party leadership to listen to the voice of reason and do the needful ahead of the start of the campaigns.
He said: “We hope that the powers that be listen to the voice of reason and do the needful”.
Those in the Wike Camp include Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, former Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, former Governor Donald Duke of Cross River State and many others.