The resolve of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to back the embattled National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, to lead it to next year’s elections will be put to test on Thursday.
The PDP’s Board of Trustees (BoT) and the National Executive Committee (NEC) will meet on that day to decide whether Ayu should remain in office in the face of the crisis sparked by his refusal to step down following the emergence of Atiku as the party’s flag bearer.
Ayu had promised shortly before he was picked unopposed at the party’s national convention in Abuja last October to resign in the event of another northerner becoming PDP’s presidential candidate.
Ayu’s exit is the principal demand of Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike and his supporters for peace to reign in the party.
But the PDP chair dared Wike and co on Wednesday, vowing he was going nowhere.
“When we started PDP, these children were not around. They are children who do not know why we formed the party,” he said on the Hausa Service of the BBC, mentioning no name in particular.
He added: “We will not allow any individual to destabilise our party.”
The Nation gathered yesterday that stakeholders of the party, worried by the festering crisis and the threat it poses to its cohesion ahead of the coming elections, have decided to take the bull by the horn and take a firm decision on the propriety of keeping Ayu on the job.The Thursday meeting will be preceded on Wednesday by that of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) and the National Caucus.
Although the source declined to disclose the agenda of the meetings, it was gathered that the call for Ayu’s resignation would be discussed.
Also expected to feature prominently at the meetings is the issue of nominations into the party’s Presidential Campaign Council.
The meetings of the NWC and the National Caucus were initially scheduled for August 10 while those of the BoT and NEC were originally fixed for August 11.
The PDP National Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, in an August 8, 2022 statement, attributed the postponement to “unforeseen circumstances.”
Atiku is said to be in a fix on how to handle the Ayu matter.
While he is not disposed to Ayu leaving before the elections because it could affect the party’s chances at the polls, he also does not want to lose the financial backing of Wike and the seven state governor allies of the Rivers State strongman.
In the same breath, Atiku is said to be troubled by the realization that his acceptance of Wike’s demands would translate into his (Atiku’s) abandonment of some of his strong allies from Rivers State who are currently not on the side of their governor.