Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Organisation, yesterday, explained why the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, explored different options from what Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and other stakeholders proffered in resolving the crisis rocking the party.
The Campaign also said the sacking of the National Chairman of the party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, would create constitutional crisis for the party, which would snowball into greater problems than what the party was currently faced with.
The main issue being canvassed by the stakeholders, it said, was the stepping down of the National Chairman which, according to it, has now overtaken by events, following the vote of confidence by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party.
“People may misinterpret it to mean calling the bluff of certain stakeholders but that is far from it because the party leadership examined the issues vis-a-vis the provisions of the party’s Constitution as amended in 2017″, spokesperson for the Campaign, Mr Charles Aniagwu, stated.
“When you look at that Constitution, there are principal officers called the National Working Committee of the party led by the National Chairman and in the order of hierarchy, the Deputy National Chairman who must also come from same zone with the National Chairman is next in line.
“The third in line is the National Secretary and, when you look at these positions, the National Chairman is from the North, the second in command is also from the North by virtue of the provision of the party’s Constitution.
“In Section 45 of the party’s Constitution, in the event of removal or resignation of the National Chairman, the National Deputy Chairman takes over and acts in the position of that National Chairman pending when the party is able to organise another election or do a NEC meeting to be able to take a decision as to how to rearrange the hierarchy of the party.”
Anigwu, who featured on an Arise News programme, said because the positions were elective positions, even if Ayu were to step down for power to come to the South, the provisions of the Constitution of the party would also be offended”, the spokesperson said.
“That can only happen if you can also take a decision to remove the Deputy National Chairman of the party who the lot immediately falls on by provisions of the law.
“Even if the party is able to solve that puzzle by bringing both National Chairman and Deputy to South, the third person in the hierarchy of the National Working Committee of the party is the National Secretary and that is in the South specifically Senator Samuel Anyanwu from Imo State.
“Now if you decide to bring this two positions to the South, have you also made arrangements to take the National Secretary to the North?
“Because of these legal impediments, the party examined it that, given the time that we have which is just about six months to the general elections, that it may likely snowball into some form of crisis that could trigger a whole lot of discomfort within the party if we proceed to begin to make these changes that there is the tendencies that the party may be embroiled in a crisis that would be worse than the one we are seeing at the moment.
“That greater crisis is what the ruling APC is waiting to happen but the leadership of the party is intelligent enough and am happy that Governor Nyesom Wike and other leaders appreciate the need for the party to move as a whole into the 2023 general elections.”
He further said it was on the basis of this that the party decided to look at what was possible at the moment and that gave room for the resignation of Senator Walid Jibrin and subsequent emergence of Senator Adolphus Wabara as Chairman Board of Trustees.
“The emergence of Wabara in the South to join the Vice presidential candidate and National Secretary had created some form of balance in the interim”, Aniagwu said.
“But what is most important is that there is a bigger elephant here which is winning the 2023 general elections because Nigerians are looking up to the PDP to rescue the nation from where we are at the moment.
“I am convinced that our leaders who have been craving for these changes would appreciate the fact that the party is listening but because of time probably when the party may have won the elections in 2023 by the grace of God, we can now proceed to make some of these alterations that may not be injurious to our quest to win the general elections.”
On the performance of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the value he brings to the ticket as vice-presidential candidate, Aniagwu, who is Information Commissioner in Delta State, said Okowa had performed tremendously with his 5-point agenda, adding that job creation through skill acquisition had been profound.
The spokesperson noted Okowa had improved the standard of living of the people by reducing poverty in state which attracted National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) ranking as the second least poor state in the counry in 2018.
On infrastructural development, he said Okowa has constructed well over 1,833km of roads with over 900km of drains across the three Senatorial Districts.
“But what is most important to us is what we have done in the creeks of Delta, area that where hitherto referred to as very difficult terrains to develop, we have made a whole lot of impact in that region which is why we are enjoying a whole lot of peace in the Niger Delta,”Amiagwu said.
“For a very long time now we have been able to ensure that our brothers and sisters in the creeks are carried along and this is one the things that our principal the Presidential candidate saw and said I need a partner who is progressive in nature.
“A partner that can address the issues of the youths and a partner that can help address the issues of unity of our country because Delta is a microcosm of Nigeria where you have diverse ethnic groups.
“When we live in unity as a country, you will discover that we will return to winning ways, all these other symptomatic malaise in our country will be solved, because issue of corruption, bad economy, insecurity, they happen because our diversity was badly mismanaged by the APC.
No retreat no surrender, the right thing must be done, Wike insists
On his part, Wike, yesterday, said he and his allies were not dampened by the PDP leadership’s confidence vote passed on Ayu to continue as National Chairman, insisting the right thing must be done.
The Rivers governor, at the reception held in Port Harcourt for decampees from other political parties into PDP in the state, said his camp will not fight and retreat on the battle fueled by differences over stakes sharing in the party ahead of the 2023 general elections with Wike and allies apparently alienated.
He said, “I was listening and watching, they said there is one man they call Secondus. They said he was dancing, celebrating that NEC gave their person vote of confidence. He forgets history.
“Ask him the same NEC through Aliyu Babangida moved a motion of vote of confidence supported by the same person, Ndudi Elumelu. They gave you (Secondus) a vote of confidence, what happened? You left office.
“We don’t fight and go back. If you like you can have as many 20 votes of confidence, it’s not my business. My business is to make sure the right thing is done, and the right thing must be done. Whether today or tomorrow.”
“I’m not going to play party with the interest of my people. Rivers State is paramount to me first before any other person or group. So, the eyes can see what we have done. Up till today, we have never abandoned governance.
“So many people are already rounding up, taking the last they have but yet, we are still committed in commissioning, and flagging off projects. Because of the love we have for our people, we will continue to serve you till May 29, when by the grace of God, Siminialaye Fubara will be inaugurated next governor of Rivers.”
On the chances of Rivers PDP in the coming elections, he boasted, “If God gives you the ticket of PDP in this state, go home and sew your cloth for the inauguration day. Because, what will any Rivers man or woman be saying that he or she wants to vote for any other person in Rivers State?
“As a party, we have kept faith with our people. As a party we have stood for our people. As a party, we have never allowed intimidation from any quarter and that is what we are talking about the interest of Rivers State.
“Remember, before I came on board, one state had our property with them. As I came in as governor, with support and prayer of our people we took all our property back.”
Ayu’s, others’ emissaries storm Rives for Wike
Meanwhile, the Ayu- led NWC of the PDP and Atiku have reached out to the Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees to intervene in assuaging Wike and his aggrieved colleagues.
Sunday Vanguard learnt that the party and presidential candidate will make the final list of members and leadership of the campaign council public when a “substantial number” of aggrieved party members are brought on board.
A highly placed member of the party’s NEC, who spoke in confidence, said, “As a party, we really want to put the past behind us and move forward.
“The vote of confidence on the NWC by the NEC was to send a clear message to our detractors especially the outgoing All Progressives Congress regime who have been desperate to cash in on our internal disagreements.
“In spite of everything that has happened, the PDP is one big family, we do have our issues without a doubt but we will resolve them.
“The list of members of the campaign council is ready but we are crossing the ‘T’s and doting the ‘I’s and ensuring that that house keeping issues such as: the reconciliation we’ve been talking about, has been sorted out before making it public.”
It will be recalled that soon after receiving a vote of confidence by the party’s NEC, Ayu led a delegation of NWC members to the residence of the new Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, Sen. Adolphus Wabara, at his Abuja residence, on Friday.
He didn’t mince words when he implored the new BoT Chairman, who a is career diplomat before delving into politics, to assist the NWC in the task of reaching out to all aggrieved party members to sheath their swords.
Ayu explained that his understanding along with that of members of the NWC was that the vote of confidence reposed in them
by NEC, was a call for unity among party members and an encouragement to rebuild trust where such was lacking.
Noting that the outcome of the NEC meeting was a win – win for the entire party.
Ayu said, “My understanding is that the party wants unity. Thankfully, you can play the role of a unifier even better with your immense preparation as a diplomat, former Member House Of Representatives, former senator and ex-Senate President who had worked with this party for a long period of time.”
“I am calling on you to lead the effort in reaching out to all our aggrieved members.
“You have the full support of myself, the candidate and the whole NWC to reach out to Governor Wike, all the governors and any person who is aggrieved, and appeal to them, plead with them to come back and let’s work together in the PDP family.
“If we do not win next year’s general election, Nigerians will be very very disappointed, the hope of Nigeria is on us.”
“As the new BoT Chairman with diplomatic experience. We implore you to use your diplomatic skills to reach out to all aggrieved members and I am telling you that it is with our full support including that of the Presidential candidate and Vice-Presidential Candidate.”
He further said, “You have our support. The entire BoT should select and reach out to them. We are appealing that they should come back and let us work together.”
Wabara promised to do all within his powers to restore peace and help move the party forward.
Wike’s camp it was also gathered is insisting that agreements reached this time round must be documented.
A source within the camp who also confided in Sunday Vanguard said, “We are wiling to negotiate but whatever agreement we reach this time must be documented. We have been deceived too many times already.
Gentlemen’s agreements no longer appeal to us with these people.
“This about what is right for our country. Nigerians deserve the best and people must begin to respect agreements in the interest of our nation because it is the failure to respect agreements that has brought Nigeria to where we are today. We are no longer safe, the economy is in shambles because of the greed of a few people.”