Due to the emergence of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), some stakeholders of the party are demanding the resignation of Senator Iyorchia Ayu, the party’s national chairman.
Daily Independent reports that some stakeholders of the party are making this demand because of the PDP’s zoning arrangement. They argued that both the national chairman and the presidential candidate could not come from the same zone.
They equally revealed that during the meetings with PDP governors that led to his selection as national chairman, Ayu was made to sign an undertaking that if the presidential candidate emerges from the North, he will resign from his position to allow a new national chairman from the South.
Ayu had said he was ready to make sacrifices to ensure the PDP won in 2023 and would step down if the party asked him to do so, while speaking with newsmen shortly after his emergence as national chairman.
A former minister from the South-South, who is leading the agitation for Ayu’s resignation, said his group would begin moves to ensure that Ayu honours the agreement and resigns.
“We have written a letter to the national chairman yesterday reminding him of the pact he had with the party leaders if our presidential candidate comes from the North.
“We will also begin to mount pressure on major stakeholders in the party across the country to ensure he abides by the agreement”, he said.
However, one of the governors who played a key role in Ayu’s emergence said the PDP chairman could only be asked to step down after the conduct of the 2023 general elections.
He said, “I don’t see activating it now. It has to be after the election. If we win, then we can do rezoning. We can’t suddenly change the party’s structures when we are planning for a major election. That will be catastrophic,” he said.
Sharing a similar view, Jimi Agbaje, two-time governorship candidate of the PDP in Lagos State, also said it was not the appropriate timing to ask Ayu to step down at a time the party was preparing for a national election and governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun in few days’ time.
“I believe that even the national chairman had said as much. In any case, mine is that if there is going to be a change or the national chairman is going to step down, I am not sure it will be at this point in time. It will be after the general elections when our candidate wins.
“Then, he will step down. But it is not the right time for him to do so when we have elections around the corner. The present national chairman is just settling down to office. We have a campaign ahead and it is going to be a rigorous one because we are in the opposition.”
Recall that Atiku, who was the party’s presidential candidate in the 2019 presidential election defeated other aspirants such as Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Bukola Saraki, former Senate President; Governor Bala Mohammed and others to emerge as the PDP’s flag bearer for the 2023 presidential election.