The days of the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, may be numbered, following a fresh plot by the governors elected on the platform to sack him.
The governors have started mobilizing members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) to be part of the move to forge unity ahead of the 2023 poll.
They may request a NEC meeting any moment from now, it was learnt yesterday.
Also, a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) asked the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to smell the coffee and take charge, if he wants to win the election.
Also yesterday, former PDP National Chairman, Chief Olabode George, cautioned Ayu against making unguarded statements capable of escalating the crisis.
He defended Wike for asking him to resign, saying the Rivers governor was after equity and justice.
Wike also fired salvos at the national chairman, describing him as a prodigal father.
However, the Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, urged calm among warring leaders in the interest of the party.
PDP governors angry with Ayu
Sources said most of the PDP governors are angry with Ayu over his comments against Wike and some of their colleagues.
A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Ayu has reached his wit’s end; the governors have started mobilizing NEC members to remove him.
“The governors may request a NEC meeting very soon. There is no way he can lead a united party with his bias. With a divided house, we may lose the 2023 presidential election.
The source added: “Ayu went overboard by describing some of the governors as children. The same ‘children’, especially governors Samuel Ortom and Nyesom Wike, installed him as the national chairman of PDP.
“At the time he wanted to be our party’s chairman, he was saying ‘Yes Sir’ to these so-called ‘children’.”
Adoke: Ayu interested in self-preservation
Adoke said Ayu was more interested in self-preservation than PDP’s victory in 2023.
He made his position known in a statement from his location abroad.
Adoke said: “Ayu’s statement is rather unfortunate and goes to show that he is more interested in self-preservation than the party winning the 2023 presidential election.
“I think he has grudges or scores to settle with the party’s candidate and as such would rather see to his defeat than help him win the election.
“If otherwise, why is he so determined to destroy the party by dividing rather than uniting it?
“Atiku should smell the coffee and take charge so this agent of destruction would not lead him and the party to doom.
“Wike is not the problem of the party. People should stand up and speak the truth rather than engage in double speak and name calling.”
Wike to Ayu: you’re a prodigal father
Wike and George chided Ayu for describing governors as children.
Wike was visibly pained that Ayu in his recent remarks on the crisis in the party described members of his team, including governors Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Samuel Ortom (Benue) Seyi Makinde (Oyo) as children who did not know how the PDP was formed in 1998.
The governor, who spoke when he led George to inaugurate Omerelu internal roads completed by his administration in Ikwere Local Government Area, said Ayu demonstrated the highest level of ingratitude.
He said since it was obvious Ayu did not want PDP to win the next election, they would help him to lose.
He said Ayu’s arrogance was a demonstration that the PDP was not ready to win next year’s election, warning Nigerians to be wary of characters like him.
Wike vowed to tell Nigerians what Ayu told them he was banking on to win the next presidential election, adding that it was the reason behind his belief that the PDP could emerge victorious without them.
While describing Ayu as a man without integrity, Wike said the PDP chairman could not keep a promise he made before his emergence.
Describing him as a prodigal father, Wike said Nigerians would not be convinced to choose PDP as their vehicle with a driver like Ayu.
Wike said: “It is unfortunate today someone said where were you when we founded the party? That those of you who said the right thing must be done are boys, children.
“You can imagine what power can do. You can imagine high ingratitude; how people can be ingrate in their lives.
“I thought as a chairman of a party, who wants to win elections, your business is to bring peace to your party. Your business is not to divide your party. Your business is not to show arrogance to your party.
“Ayu said we are children. Yes, the children brought you to be chairman of the party. The children made you chairman. Ayu, you were impeached as the Senate President. Ayu, you were sacked by Obasanjo in his administration two times.
“Arrogance cannot take you anywhere. Now, we have seen that you don’t want the party to win the election, we will help you; these children you say we are, these boys we are that brought you from nothing, I say from nothing.
“You have no moral right to still claim that you founded that company. You left with your shares. Other shareholders have come in.
“You must convince Nigerians that you have integrity. You are the driver that will drive the vehicle to convey us to where we are looking for. If the driver has no integrity, if the driver cannot show honesty, how do you convince Nigerians?
“You said when so so thing happens, I will do so so thing. Now, what you said has happened. Why not show as a man of honour, as a man of integrity by telling Nigerians: ‘What I promised you I would do, now I have come to do’.
“If now you told Nigerians something and would not do it, is it when you enter into power that you will do it? On your own volition, you were the one who spoke to Nigerians.”
Wike recalled how they championed the zoning of the party chairmanship to the North against all odds and how they chose Ayu as national chairman.
He said: “We are the ones who championed that the chairmanship should be zoned to the North though most of my colleagues from the South refused it. People like our leader, Bode George, are here. He was one of those who said, look, this is what ought to be done and should be done.
“Ayu, where were you? You were sleeping in your house. You were calling me virtually every second per second, thanking me. Haba! You said I am a boy, Seyi Makinde is a boy, Ortom, your brother, who signed on your behalf, is a boy. Abia is a boy. Enugu is a boy.
“Today, all those who brought you as a chairman are all boys. Nigerians have seen how ungrateful some of you can be. That is why Nigerians also need to be careful.
“If you give this man power, if you give these people power, are you sure they will also be grateful to Nigerians?
“As you make your bed so you lie on it. It is not me. I have kept quiet thinking that we will reconcile.
“Now that you have brought arrogance to say you were elected, where did you campaign? Show me where your poster was anywhere in this state.
“Even though we gave you money to go and do poster, you put it in your pocket. It is unfortunate.”
Wike insisted that after his project commissioning and inauguration, he would disclose to Nigerians what Ayu told them, adding that characters like Ayu should not be entrusted with power.
He said: “I am not interested in the chairmanship. What I am interested in is fulfilling what you said. That is all. Stop using Nigerians.
“You think you are smart. You used us. No problem. Nigerians are waiting. Nigerians are watching.
“For us let nobody bother. We are not people who are afraid to fight. When the fight comes, we will fight and we will win at the end of the day.”
On the main reason why Ayu had refused to resign, Wike said: “Because of simple money from the primaries. We made about N14billion. That is why ‘I won’t resign’. Nothing more, just the N14billion in the account, nothing. Let me preside over the expenditure. That is all.”
He said: “You can’t come to Rivers State and take our votes. You can’t. Go and deliver Benue first. You say your governor was a boy. I don’t know why all those who left the party are those claiming to be founders of the party. I can’t understand it.
“Look at people like Bode George who have suffered. Sometimes they take away the state working committee. He doesn’t have the structure, but he has never left the party one day. Never. He has remained in the party since 1998 till now.
“We will tell you that you are a prodigal father. If you like hire all the social media and media moguls and write whatever you can write, it will not save you.”
Wike, who was given a chieftaincy title by the Omerelu community, said he initiated the 13.4km internal roads to fulfil the promise he made to the community.
He said with a special financing model, the contractor commenced work on the project last year and completed the roads in record time without complaining about money.
George chides Ayu
While inaugurating the road projects, George chided Ayu, saying the chairman’s remarks had shown his level of immaturity.
He said: “You heard when a serving national chairman of our party was calling elected governors children. Does he think that children don’t grow? We need to watch our language. It shows me that he is immature.
“But we can only go back to Aso Rock if we are united and not divided. Some people are abusing Governor Wike.
“What we are saying is that the issue of the National Chairman of PDP must be addressed before the commencement of the campaign for the 2023 general election.
“It is an antithesis and against the norm and culture of our party that our presidential candidate, our national chairman and the chairman of the board of trustees will come from one section of the country.
“Party members from the south are already feeling alienated. PDP is not a private company. Before we start the presidential campaign at the end of this month, the national chairman must go to the South.
“Statutorily, it is the national chairman who hands over the party’s flag to our presidential candidate. How will the party members of the South feel when they see that at all political rallies, Southerners have no public political representation?
“This constitutes a fundamental flaw and lack of inclusiveness, which will be diametrically opposed to the original objectives of the founding fathers of our party. Maybe, if Ayu had remained perpetually in the party he would have learnt the rules much better.
“We don’t want to go into elections divided. That is why the national chairmanship must come to the South now as a matter of urgency. We are not begging for it. We demand it because it is our right.”
PDP will overcome crisis, says spokesman
The publicity secretary said the party will not fall apart on account of its leadership crisis.
He said stakeholders were working hard to overcome the challenges and douse the rising tension.
Ologunagba, who spoke with reporters in Abuja, said the disagreements were part of issues that usually crop up in normal human societies.
He said: “Disagreements are part of daily living, even among families, but which are usually resolved through constant discussions.
“Emotions and interests are involved but human nature is dynamic. All issues will be resolved very soon.
“We are together; do we have differences? Yes. We have disagreements but we have the capacity to resolve our differences.”