Posted By Godwin Onyemaechi
•Says he’s elected for four-year term
•Atiku, Okowa, Sambo, Fintiri, others receive 160,000 defectors from APC
•Presidential hopeful says his mission in politics is to serve people
•Wike berates party elders for allegedly ganging up against him
•PDP alleges 20 LGAs in Katsina not secure for election
National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, yesterday, dismissed speculations about his status as the leader of the party, saying he has not resigned and would not be forced to resign now, because he was elected for a four-year tenure.
Ayu’s statement came as presidential candidate of PDP, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, led other chieftains of the party to receive some defectors from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Adamawa State into PDP. Those that accompanied Atiku, aside from Ayu, included ex-Vice President Namadi Sambo; PDP presidential running mate and Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa; and Adamawa State Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri.
Atiku, who personally received the defectors, said his mission in politics in over 30 years had been to serve the people.
But Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, who appeared not to be giving up his fight against certain forces in the party, accused some PDP elders in the state of ganging up against him when they failed to clinch the party’s governorship ticket.
In a related development, the Katsina State chapter of PDP alleged that about 20 local government areas in the state were not secure for the 2023 elections because of incessant attacks by terrorists on communitie.
A statement from Ayu’s Media Office stated, “We restate, therefore, that the PDP national chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, has not resigned and has no plan of resigning. For clarity and emphasis, he was elected for a tenure of four years.
“Sections 45 and 47 of the PDP constitution is clear on the removal and/or resignation of the national chairman. Those who don’t know this should get copies of the party’s constitution for more information on the matter.”
Earlier, in a tweet, Ayu’s Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Simon Imobo’tswam, wrote, “The PDP national chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, has not resigned and has no plan of resigning. For clarity and emphasis, he was elected for a tenure of four years.”
Imobo’tswam followed up with a formal statement that said Ayu’s attention was drawn to a story in some national news media, purporting he had resigned, and particularly insinuating that the alleged resignation letter was with former Senate President David Mark
The statement said, “If Dr. Ayu had resigned, he would give his resignation letter to the Deputy Chairman (North), not Senator Mark. Section 45 (i and ii) of the party’s constitution is clear on this.
“So, where does Distinguished Senator David Mark come in here, being that he is not even a member of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC)? It appears that those who have been procured to blackmail the national chairman out of office are not even aware of what the party’s constitution says about the matter.
“The national chairman is on a crucial assignment to lead the PDP on a historic rescue mission, come February 2023. And he will not be deterred or distracted by media terrorism or political blackmail. PDP members and the general public are advised to ignore any story of such phantom resignation.”
Meanwhile, while receiving some new members into PDP at the Ribadu Square in Yola, Ayu said the rate of defection from APC to PDP was increasing by the day. He said this was an indication that the opposition party was waxing stronger.
According to a statement by Atiku’s Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, Ayu said, “It is clear everywhere that the PDP is back. Today, we are here to take in new members into the PDP. Very soon, this venue shall be hosting the president of Nigeria, who is your very own son.
“I welcome the new entrants to our party and I, therefore, hand them over to Governor Fintiri. I urge the governor to continue with his good work in making Adamawa better than he met it.”
Atiku also welcomed the new members of the party, and promised to work with them.
The former vice president told the new PDP members, “I have been serving the people since I joined politics 30 years ago and that is my promise to you all today. I believe that Governor Fintiri has done a good job and that we should join hands to make sure he wins his second term election.”
Speaking on behalf of the supporters and over 160,000 defectors from various wards across the state, a member of the Adamawa State House of Assembly from Fufore Gurin constituency, Hon. Shuaibu Babbbas, affirmed their loyalty and commitment to PDP in its quest to oust APC and fix the broken state of the country’s socio-economic and political fabrics.
On arrival at the Yola International Airport, where he was received to a rousing welcome, earlier, Atiku proceeded to the palace of the Lamido Adamawa, His Royal Highness Aliyu Musdafa, on a courtesy visit.
He was accompanied by Fintiri, Okowa, and Ayu. It was the first time that the presidential standard bearer would be visiting his home state after the presidential primary election of PDP.
In his remarks at the Lamido’s palace, Atiku said his presentation to the Lamido as the presidential candidate of PDP gave him a sense of nostalgia, because his political career would not have attained this mark but for the prayers and support that he enjoyed from the traditional ruler, his palace, and the entire state
Atiku stated, “I am an ambassador of this palace, Adamawa State, and Nigeria. I am appreciative of the reception I received today, which is historic and I am promising you that I will represent you and the entire Nigeria well in the assignment ahead of me as your worthy son.”
The Lamido, in his response, said he was pleased and proud to welcome Atiku home after his emergence as the presidential candidate of a major political party.
He told the PDP presidential candidate, “Your triumph is not just a victory for this emirate but the country at large as we continue to provide good leadership. I will implore you to use your experience in the task ahead of you. As a detribalised Nigerian, I am confident of your capacity to lead the nation.
“Your investment in human capital development is a good example of your contribution to the society. I pray that the Almighty remains with you as you strive to become the next president of this country.”
Wike Berates Rivers PDP Elders for Ganging Up against Him
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike condemned some elders in the state for allegedly ganging up against him when they could not secure the PDP governorship ticket. He alleged that those elders had on his birthday last year come to him on their own accord and showed a commitment that they would stay to see through what they came to convince him about.
The governor explained that some of them, who indicated interest to fly the ticket, but failed, went to Abuja to plot against him.
Wike spoke yesterday during the 74th birthday reception organised to honour a former governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, at a private residence built and donated to him by the state government at Old Government Residential Area, in Port Harcourt.
The governor explained, “On my last birthday, 12 midnight, some of our elders called me that they wanted to see me. They came to me and said they came to wish me happy birthday. Then, they presented me a letter that I should run for president. All of them, including Dr. Abiye Sekibo, signed the document.
“I say, okay, you people, too, should go and give me someone, who will be governor after me. They all sat there, looking left and right. I asked them, those of you who are interested to be governor should raise your hands. Everybody raised his hand. One person didn’t raise his hand, Senator Bari Mpigi. I asked why he was not interested, he replied, ‘Sir, let me hold what God has given me. I don’t want to lose the two.’”
Wike said the elders also signed to a document that they would abide by whatever became the outcome of the governorship primary. But he claimed since they were not successful, they had turned around to allege that he was pursuing a third term bid.
He said, “Some persons don’t know the history. They go and tell all kinds of stories. But the truth is this, all of them (elders) signed the document prepared by O.C.J. Okocha that whoever I will bring, they will abide to by it.
“But now, they went to Abuja, that I must not be vice president. I also read, yesterday, when I was in Paris, one of them saying I told him that if they do to me what they did to Dr. Odili, that I will collapse the system.
“I am not an ungrateful person and I will never be ungrateful in my life. What’s important is that I have done well as a governor. I am happy and I am leaving office a happy man.”
He recalled that when Odili was to run for the office of president, he had a large crowd following happily, but noted that when the issue of governorship of Rivers State was to be decided and he did not give those who wanted it, they all left him, and ran to Abuja to thwart his presidential ambition.
Wike, however, said he had held on to the advice of Odili, hence, he was not surprised at the turn of events and the outcome of the PDP presidential primary.
He described Odili as a true leader of men, who groomed many, and supported a lot of persons to political limelight, particularly, in Rivers State and across the country.
Wike said of the former governor, “There was a time every political class abandoned Dr. Odili. This is a man who gave us everything. Some people called him Mr. Donatus. There was no abuse he did not get. Everybody he tried to help and their families, but at the end of the day, they all betrayed him.
For us, we have used him as a school and we thank him for making himself available for us to use him to learn so that we won’t be shocked about whatever that is going to happened.”
Wike expressed gratitude for the opportunity to know Odili and to celebrate him. He pointed to several encouragements and gains from the political tutelage under Odili that had made him successful in politics.
Wike added that Odili’s benevolence made it possible for Ikwerre sons to emerge governors of Rivers State.
In his response, Odili said he and his wife, Hon. Justice Mary Odili (retired), were overwhelmed by the birthday gift courtesy of the state government.
He explained that during his tenure as governor, Wike was the best performing council chairman in the state. He lauded the governor for investing in human capacity development, infrastructure, and building the best law school campus in Port Harcourt.
In his goodwill message, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State emphasised the need for all Nigerians to work together to enthrone fairness, justice, and equity in all facets of the society, which Odili had always stood for.
Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, noted that Odili was a great leader, who had impacted on many lives across the country.
Similarly, a former Cross River State governor, Donald Duke, commended Odili for being a role model and comporting himself very well after leaving office.
In his homily at the thanksgiving mass, Monsignor Pius Kii said Nigeria missed the opportunity of having Odili as president, because he would have used his farsighted ability, courage and adaptive capacities to solve many problems in the country.
PDP Alleges 20 LGAs in Katsina Not Secure for Election
Citing incessant attacks by terrorists on communities, Katsina State chapter of PDP alleged that about 20 local government areas in the state were not safe for the 2023 general election. PDP chairman in the state, Hon. Salisu Yusuf Majigiri, who disclosed this in an interview with some journalists in Katsina, said many eligible voters would be disenfranchised in the state during the forthcoming polls due to the activities of the hoodlums.
Majigiri said the security challenges posed serious threat to the 2023 elections, because many polling units in the frontline local governments were inaccessible and inhabitable by both the electorate and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
According to him, “The security situation in Katsina State is worsening day by day. People are being attacked in the daylight and many are leaving their villages everyday. So, security situation is worsening in almost all parts of the state.
There is a serious threat to this election, because there are some places in the state, where you cannot go to campaign or even vote. The insecurity will affect free, fair and credible elections, because if people are not protected to go and cast their votes, they will be disfranchised.
“About 20 local governments are not safe for election in the state. So, if these local governments are not secure with the atmosphere that people can go freely and cast their votes, many people will be prevented from discharging their constitutional rights.
“If you take the Funtua zone, for instance, the 11 local governments in the zone are not safe. Local governments like Batsari, Jibia, Safana, Danmusa, Dutsin-Ma, Kurfi, Kankia, and even parts of Batagarawa and Katsina are equally not secure.”
He called on the state and federal governments to wake up to their constitutional responsibility of securing the lives and property of the citizenry in the state in order to ensure credible and acceptable elections in 2023.