Again, Deadlock Over Ayu As Atiku And Wike’s Teams Meet In PH

Reconciliation teams to meet again, says Mimiko

The continued stay in office of the Peoples Democratic Party National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, has again brought to a deadlock, the party’s reconciliation efforts following disagreements over the nomination of Atiku Abubakar as the Presidential candidate and the choice of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate.

Governor Nyesom Wike who had earlier contested the presidential ticket of the party and lost to Atiku, has been at loggerheads with the Presidential candidate ever since he declined to pick him as his running mate.

Iyorchia Ayu

Members of a committee created by Atiku and Governor Wike as part of the framework for the resolution of their differences, met in Port Harcourt for over four hours yesterday, without achieving the desired reconciliation.

Informed sources said a lot of progress was made but the demand for the resignation of Ayu could not be resolved.

In the run up to the party’s 2021 national convention, Senator Iyorchia Ayu had reportedly promised to step down as the party’s national chairman if a Northerner emerges as presidential candidate. Now that Atiku from Adamawa State has emerged, a section of the party led by Wike insists he should honour his promise.

He had said that he was willing to “do everything to promote the interest and image of my party.”

“If the PDP says I should step down after a presidential candidate emerges and happens to be in the north, I will be very glad to do so because what we want is to take over the government and run it in the interest of Nigerians. I’ll sacrifice anything to ensure that my party wins.”

Atiku and Wike

The issue has become the single most contentious issue in the crisis rocking the opposition party

Former Governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko, who led Wike’s team to the meeting held at Government House, Port Harcourt, came out saying, “This is a reconciliation process, there are some issues out there which need further deliberation when the committees meet again.”

Though Mimiko did not disclose the main issue drawing back the reconciliation, sources said the insistence of Wike’s team that the national Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, must step down before any reconciliation can commence, remains a big issue.

Atiku’s camp was represented by Governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Fintiri; Hon. Adamu Waziri and Hon. Eyitayo Jegede.Those on Governor Wike’s team were former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke; Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State; former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke; former Governor of Gombe State, Dr. Ibrahim Dankwambo and Mimiko.

Addressing journalists at the end of the meeting, Fintiri stated that talks were ongoing to achieve the desired objectives.

Mimiko hinted that the committee would meet again to further deliberate on issues that need to be addressed. “We have agreed that there is a need for us to enhance unity within our party,” he said.

Also speaking, Mimiko noted the agreement by members of the committee to bring about unity in the party would be achieved soon

Members of the committee later met with Wike at his private residence in Rumueprikom, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state.

The Reconciliation team

Atiku and Wike had agreed to constitute the committee at a meeting they held in Abuja a few weeks ago at the residence of a former Minister of Information and National Orientation, Prof. Jerry Gana, as part of the framework for the resolution of their differences.Previous efforts by PDP stakeholders and elders to resolve the Atiku/Wike crisis proved abortive, fueling speculations that Wike may support a presidential candidate from another party in the 2023 election.

There have been calls for Ayu to keep his promise by tendering his resignation on the grounds that the party’s presidential candidate and the national chairman cannot be from the same region. Both are northerners, from Benue and Adamawa respectively.

In a chat with Arise TV at that time, Ayu pledged to “step down after a presidential candidate emerges and happens to be in the north”.

Reacting to the growing clamour, Simon Imobo-Tswana, special adviser on media and communications to Ayu, recently said his principal has no plan to resign from his position.

He added that the PDP national chairman “was elected for a tenure of four years”.

“We restate, therefore, that the PDP National Chairman has not resigned and has no plan of resigning. For clarity and emphasis, he was elected for a tenure of four years,” he said.

“Sections 45 and 47 of the PDP Constitution are 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.”

While many people insist that he must keep to that agreement, others say his resignation will trigger a series of office swaps between the North and South that will not be condusive for a party’s preparing for national elections in 6 months time.

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