…Ayu rallies against removal bid
…’PDP, APC crises, blessing in disguise for LP’
By Dapo Akinrefon, Egufe Yafugborhi & Ugochukwu Alaribe
Following Senator Iyorchia Ayu’s insistence not to resign his position as National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, the planned meeting by the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party, slated for Thursday, September 8, 2022, is expected to be a stormy one as forces for and against Ayu in the party’s leadership are set to have an open confrontation at the meeting.
Vanguard was reliably informed that ahead of the NEC meeting, some senior members of the National Working Committee, NWC, were yesterday engaged in a marathon meeting to thwart moves to oust Ayu, as one of the items on the agenda of the meeting.
Credible sources, however, told Vanguard that loyalists of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State are also exploring the option of dragging the party’s National Chairman before the court to challenge the process that brought Ayu into office.
Presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Governor Wike have been engaged in a cold war over plots to remove Senator Ayu as the party’s National Chairman.
But the PDP chairman has repeatedly dismissed calls for his removal from office, wondering where those championing such calls were when he and other Nigerians came together to form the party.
This came as Governor Wike, yesterday, vowed that no force can separate him from his Abia, Benue, Oyo and Enugu counterparts — Okezie Ikpeazu, Samuel Ortom, Seyi Makinde and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, respectively, over their stand on PDP and the 2023 elections.
PDP SET FOR STORMY SESSION
Confirming the expected stormy session at the NEC meeting, a reliable source who spoke to Vanguard in confidence, said: “The NEC meeting will hold this Thursday and they will decide on Ayu’s matter. What we know is that some NEC members are saying Ayu must go. Thursday is a big day for the party and it will either make or mar the party.”
AYU RALLIES AGAINST REMOVAL
Another credible source, a former NWC member, confirmed that the meeting will hold, but noted that if Ayu’s removal failed to scale through at the NEC meeting, the Wike camp might explore the court option.
The source said: “I know NEC will meet this week but it has nothing to do with Ayu’s resignation because he has said he is not going to resign. Whatever is going to happen, will happen at that meeting.
“PDP governors will be at the meeting but what I’m hearing is that he (Ayu) is trying to do it in such a way that his resignation will not be on the agenda.
“If it is not on the agenda and anybody raises the matter, he will tell them that it’s not on the agenda. He may also say since it is not on the agenda, he will consider it and if he says that, he may adjourn the meeting there.
“Already I heard they are sponsoring a court case against Ayu, that the convention that brought him in was flawed. They will argue that the process was a selection and not an election. Even if they go to court, they will be thrown off balance and this is all.
“They intend to use any party member or a delegate to the National Convention to take Ayu to court. That is in the pipeline.
‘’Another thing is that they may use internal mechanisms by instigating NWC members to foment trouble for Ayu, just like they did for Uche Secondus.
“So, it’s a two-way thing, they may use the court option or internal mechanism to further divide the party.
“By the time all these things are in play, Atiku may not have the opportunity to set up the campaign council. It’s a real crisis except Atiku decides to mount pressure on Ayu to resign.”
But a source close to Ayu said the push against the National Chairman might not scale through.
The source said: “We are aware of what is going on and there is a limit to how a few people can disrupt what the party is set to achieve.
“It is becoming clearer to those who frowned on the process that threw up our presidential candidate and his running mate. When you look at what has happened since then, some party members have since had a change of disposition, going by the way so-called aggrieved members, particularly the governor, have carried on.
“This is not the first time PDP would be resolving its internal issues. The party will resolve this one too and it will end well.””