The division within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) continues to deepen as its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, revealed the reasons behind his support of embattled National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu.
This was revealed via a statement issued on Saturday by the spokesperson for the PDP Presidential Campaign Organization, Charles Aniagwu.
Ayu’s dismissal, according to Aniagwu, would have exacerbated the party’s dilemma.
He also provided justification for the PDP’s consideration of alternative strategies for addressing its current issue, clarifying that the PDP was reexamining the issues in light of what was permitted by party regulations as a listening party.
Aniagwu claimed that dismissing Ayu would lead to a constitutional crisis inside the party, which would exacerbate the issues the party was already dealing with.
According to him, the suggestion that the National Chairman must step down has been overtaken by events following the vote of confidence by the National Executive Committee (NEC).
“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.
“When you look at that constitution, there are principal officers called the National Working Committee led by the National Chairman. In the order of hierarchy, the Deputy National Chairman, who must also come from the same zone with the National Chairman, is next in line.
“The third in line is the National Secretary; when you look at these positions, the National Chairman is from the North, and 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 that position pending when the party is able to organise another election.
“Alternatively, the party will convene a NEC meeting where it will take a decision as to how to rearrange the hierarchy of the party,” he said.
Aniagwu added that because the offices were elective positions, even if Ayu were to step down so that the National Chairmanship seat is conceded to the South, the provisions of the constitution of the party would also be offended.
“A southerner can only become National Chairman if we also removed 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 – Sen. Samuel Anyanwu from Imo.
“Now, if you decide to bring these 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, after examining it, felt that given the time, which is just about six months to the general elections, it may likely snowball into some form of crisis within the party.
“The party felt that if we proceeded to make these changes, there is the tendency that we could dive into a crisis worse than the one we are seeing at the moment.
“The leadership of the party is intelligent enough and I am happy that Gov. Nyesom Wike and other leaders appreciate the need for the party to move as a whole into the 2023 general elections,” he said.
Earlier on Saturday, Wike said that he was not demoralised by the vote of confidence passed on Ayu by the party’s leadership.
He also noted that his allies would continue to fight for the right thing to be done in the party ahead of the 2023 elections.
The Rivers State Governor had alleged that Ayu agreed to resign from his position as National Chairman of the party if a Northerner emerged as the standard bearer after the presidential primary election.
With the emergence of Atiku Abubakar, a Northerner from Adamawa State, as the winner of the primary election, Ayu refused to step down, insisting that he would complete the tenure of his office which runs till 2025.
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