PDP Crisis: I Won’t Step Down, Ayu Insists

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The simmering cold war within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is not about to thaw with the national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, insisting he would not step down despite calls for him to do so.

Following the presidential primary which was won by Atiku Abubakar, a northerner, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State and former governors Segun Mimiko of Ondo State and Donald Duke of Cross Rivers State had insisted Ayu must step down so that someone from the South would be the chairman.

But in an interview with BBC Hausa, yesterday, Ayu described those calling for his resignation as children who were not there when the party was formed and who  who did not understand the goals of the party. He stated that as far as he is concerned, party members voted for him and he had nowhere to go considering that he was elected based on the laws laid down by the PDP.

He, however, said the current issues with Governor Wike would hinder the party’s victory in the 2023 election.

“I was elected PDP chairman for a four-year tenure and I am not even one year old in this position. The issue of Atiku Abubakar’s election does not apply to the position of party leader. I won the election. I haven’t done anything wrong. I’m reforming the party, so, the noise is not bothering me. I know that I am working, I have not stolen money, I have not committed any crime, so I do not see anything to talk about.

“When we started the PDP journey, we did not see these children. They are children who do not know why we established this party. We will not allow one person to come and destroy our party,” he said.

Responding to Ayu’s interview, Wike who was at Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state to flag-off of Igwuruta Internal Roads project, said he cannot be threatened and would only do the bidding of Nigerians not that of a few individuals.

He said a time would come when Nigerians would know the characters that will say all kinds of things because of power to destroy their own people.

He insisted that Rivers’ votes were not for free and Nigerians would be surprised at the outcome of the 2023 general elections if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is fair and transparent.

“Nobody should deceive you. No amount of social media war against us (Rivers) can solve any problem. Anybody who wants our vote must tell us what is there for us. Our vote is not for free.  Our vote is for you to tell us what you will deliver to us. No amount money, no amount of threat that can make me sell my people, not in this world. What I said today is what I will say tomorrow. Go and check our history. We are not known for this kind of character.

“Some people threatened that they were former generals. They are close to CIA in America, they can deal with us. I said, no problem. If you are close to American CIA, why not use it to solve Boko Haram problem. Is it on my body you will use it?  Nigeria has a serious problem. And you are linked to American CIA and you are a former general, why not use that contact and solve Nigeria’s problem?

“You want to use it to threaten me? You want me to come and do your bidding? I will not do that. I will do the biddings of Nigerians not biddings of individuals, who believe that if they are not there, their children will be there. So, if you have given to Adamawa; you have given to Benue, you have given to Delta, won’t you give us? You can’t just come and collect vote.”

Governor Wike prayed that God should put confusion in the camp of his detractors until they retrace their steps from following the wrong way.

He berated one of the leaders of the PDP in South-South for the demeaning remarks he made in Kano State, describing it as shameful.

“The God of confusion will put confusion in them. They think they are doing Rivers State. They are doing themselves. They will see confusion from now till end, until the withdraw and understand that there is no road there.

“Sometime ago, I was watching television and one of the leaders in South-South was in Kano saying all manner  of things. I just shook my head. I said go on. If he is the kind of father I will have, it’s better I don’t have. There are some fathers you will see, you wonder whether they are fathers. People who would like to eat their own share, eat their children’s share and eat their grand children’s share.

“I say time will come when Nigerians will know this kind of character.  Characters that would like to say all kinds of things because of power. Characters that would be agents to destroy their own people. Characters that don’t care if their own families collapse. So, all of you should be prepared; a day shall come when you will take decision on what to do.”

•My concern about INEC’s sincerity

The Rivers State governor expressed concerns about the sincerity of the umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a free, fair and credible election in 2023.

He, however, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for declaring that he would not interfere in the election, saying that his (Buhari) statement was a confirmation of the unpalatable role he played in the 2019 election.

“My problem is INEC, whether they will do what they said they will do, because they are making promises now. I don’t know whether they will keep to it.  If INEC will keep to the promise, I will be so happy.”

“I thank Mr. President for coming out to tell the governors that he would not interfere in the 2023 election, because they interferred through the military, police.”

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•INEC expresses reservation over late submission of observers’ reports on election

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed reservation over late submission of observer groups’ reports on Ekiti and Osun Governorship poll.

Mr Sam Olumekun, the INEC National Commissioner, Election and Party Monitoring Committee (EPMC), said this in Abuja at the post-election workshop on Ekiti and Osun Governorship election with accredited observer groups.

Olumekun, represented by INEC Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Victor Aluko, said 85 out of the 88 accredited groups for the election completed their accreditation process and deployed about 9,830 field observers for both states elections.

“Out of the 88 accredited groups only 25 reports have been received for Ekiti, while only 27 groups have submitted for Osun election so far.

“Also, response rate has been low on the synopsis form for election observation which was supposed to have been received by the commission within 72 hours after announcement of results of election.

“For Ekiti only 26 groups responded, while only 25 groups responded for Osun election. This, indeed, is less than satisfactory,” he said.

Olumekun added that another serious issue with election observation which has been of concern to the commission was the integrity in election observation.

He said while there were a number of trustworthy, honest, objective, hardworking and credible observer groups that have contributed greatly to deepening Nigeria democracy and the electoral process, some cared less about integrity.

“Over the years, there are still others who have continued to be unserious about election observation and have cared less about integrity.

“We have evidence of observer groups engaged in plagiarism in their report. We observed a number of groups summiting similar reports.

“The commission is concerned with this development and new measures will soon be unveiled to manage such elements within the election observation family,’’ he said.

The national commissioner said that although INEC has been applauded for the conduct of the two election, the commission considered it imperative to review the conduct from the perspective of the accredited observers.

He said the commission wanted to know areas it faired well so it can improve on them as well where it needed to improved before 2023 general elections. He also advised Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to study the Electoral Act, 2022 in order to gain the needed knowledge on the dynamics of election management in Nigeria.

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