Indications are rife within the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) that the party stakeholders may ask the National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, to step aside to fulfil one of the key demands by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for peace to return to the party.
A meeting of the highest decision-making body of the party, its National Executive Committee (NEC), is expected to hold soon to facilitate this.
Despite the sustained pressure from the Wike group for Ayu to resign, the party boss cannot do so unless it becomes a decision of the party hierarchy.
The former Senate president had indeed alluded to this before the national convention of the party that produced former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, noting, at the time, that should the candidate emerge from the North, which is his own zone, he will step aside from his post if the party so decides.
Many party stakeholders have since assumed the position that he should resign since the presidential candidate comes from the same zone as himself so as to create the necessary geopolitical balance in the party organogram, especially as the North also holds the post of the chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT).
The PDP BoT chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin, has already thrown his weight behind the move to restructure the party offices to reflect diversity as he posited that it is unfair for both the presidential candidate of the party and its national chairman to come from the same zone.
“To tell the truth, it will not be fair for the president of Nigeria to be from the North, the chairman of the party from the north and the BoT chairman from the north,” Jibrin argued.
However, it was learnt that the party can only take the decision to ask Ayu to vacate his post if a consensus develops among its critical organs, including the National Working Committee (NWC), PDP Governors Forum; former PDP Ministers Forum; the BoT, the National Caucus and ratified by its NEC.
The Nigerian Tribune reports that the Benue State Governor, Sam Ortom, continues to support Wike because of his role in convincing the Rivers governor to support Ayu to become the national chairman of the party.
Findings reveal that Governor Ortom had persuaded former Senate president, David Mark, who had been pencilled down for the job, to stay aside due to age and personally introduced Ayu to Wike who initially doubted the party boss’s true intentions.
A credible source privy to the process said: “Ortom singlehandedly took Ayu to Wike and Wike asked Ortom, ‘can we trust this man?’ And Ortom said yes. After his emergence when the crisis started, Wike asked Ortom, ‘can you see what this man is doing? Can you see what I told you that time?
“The resolution of the Wike’s group is that Ayu must go. Ayu did not contest election to become the national chairman of PDP. It was Ortom that went to bring him despite the fact that people like (ex-Benue State governor, Gabriel) Suswam warned against it,” the source added.