Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman Dr. Iyorchia Ayu is under pressure to quit, following the protracted crisis that has hit the platform.
Yesterday, he was suspended by the executive committee of his native Igyorov Ward in Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State after a vote of no confidence was passed in him.
Also, the PDP Deputy National Chairman, Ambassador Taofik Arapaja, said Ayu should resign to pave the way for the rebuilding of the party ahead of the 2027 elections.
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike spoke in a smiliar vein like that of the deputy national chairman.
A resolution passed at the end of the Igyorov Ward meeting and read by its Secretary, Mr. Banger Dooyum, accused Ayu of causing PDP to lose the recent general election at the state, local government and ward levels in Benue State.
The resolution reads in part: “He (Ayu) was involved in anti-party activities, making the PDP lose at his ward and local government along with his allies who also didn’t vote at the governorship election.”
The Ward exco also accused him of failing to pay his annual dues as demanded by the PDP constitution.
Ayu’s suspension is coming barely 72 hours after the PDP national leadership announced the suspension of two of its ex-governors —Ayo Fayose (Ekiti) and Ibrahim Shema (Katsina)— for alleged anti-party activities.
Also suspended was a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Pius Anyim.
Prof. Dennis Ityavyar from Benue State and Dr. Aslam Aliyu from Zamfara State were similarly suspended by the Ayu-led National Working Committee (NWC).
Arapaja, in an interview with The Nation, said the embattled National Chairman should quit because he has not only failed to lead the party to victory in the presidential election, he also lost his polling unit, ward, local government and state to another party.
The PDP chieftain said party politics and management are not an academic exercise in which academics are regarded as experts. He explained that under Dr Ayu’s leadership, governors who have a large following and great influence left the party without Ayu showing any concern.
Arapaja insisted that Ayu should honourably tender his resignation to pave the way for the rebuilding of the party.
He said: “Before the election, we told them that there must be justice and equity.
“We said the national chairman should be a Southerner for the purpose of inclusiveness, having produced a presidential candidate of Northern origin. But they refused.
“When it was time to choose the vice presidential candidate, I was a member of the committee. We all agreed on Nyesom Wike.
“But they moved on without Wike and the entire G-5 governors. We had nothing to campaign within the South.
“Another party zoned its presidency to the South. You can see the result now.
“It is time for us to go back to the drawing board and build a party in which there is justice and equity.”
Arapaja added: “Any political party must be able to deliver. If you are a leader and are unable to deliver, you need to step down.
“Ayu could not deliver his polling unit, his ward, local government and state, let alone the presidency.
“He is not a politician, and cannot continue to serve as the national chairman of our party. He should step down. PDP is not a university; it is a political party.
“If he is a man of integrity, he does not need to be told to throw in the towel. The party needs to be completely rebuilt.”
The governors, who came together under the umbrella of Integrity Group – Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Ifeanyi Ugwuayi (Enugu), Ikpeazu Okezie (Abia) and Samuel Ortom (Benue) have distanced themselves from the activities of the Ayu-led NWC.
Efforts by our correspondence to get reaction from the PDP chair were not successful.
Ayu’s immediate predecessor, Prince Uche Secondus, was in 2021 removed in similar circumstances.
The allegation against Secondus by his Ward Exco in Rivers State was that he failed to pay his annual membership dues for an accumulated period of 10 years.
Secondus, who was suspended a few weeks to the end of his tenure, did not regain his seat until his tenure expired.
Ayu was eventually elected chairman following which he resumed duties on December 9, 2021.