The National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Iyrochia Ayu said the All Progressives Congress (APC) sued the party and its 2023 presidential candidate, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and not Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, as widely reported.
It was on Thursday reported that Wike filed a lawsuit against Atiku, his Sokoto State counterpart, Aminu Tambuwal; and the PDP over the party’s presidential primary, which was held in Abuja on May 28 and May 29, 2022.
The PDP has been engulfed in a cold war since the emergence of Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as the party’s vice-presidential candidate in June.
Atiku’s poor handling of the process which produced Okowa as the vice-presidential candidate split the party into two blocs, with a group loyal to Wike and the others loyal to the party’s candidate.
Reacting to the suit, Ayu in a statement to commemorate the 2022 International Youth Day, signed by his media adviser, Simon Imobo-Tswam described Wike as a strong party man.
The PDP National Chairman also accused the ruling APC of using the governor’s name to institute what he described as a bogus suit against the party.
He described the alleged APC action as desperate and criminal.
The statement partly read: “While hailing Wike for promptly coming out to dissociate himself from the said suit, Ayu advised party faithful to be wary of APC’s divisive manipulations.
“His Excellency, Gov. Nyesom Wike never took the party to court. It is the APC that did it. The first name in the case is a coordinator of the presidential candidate of the APC.
“We know very well that they don’t believe they can win any election. They have decided to divide you. But don’t let any APC manipulation divide you.
“They are the ones sponsoring false stories of the crisis in PDP. PDP has no crisis. It is a united party.
“Anyone who thinks they can come and brew crises here is deceiving himself. They should wait for us till next year. In February, we will show them that they are the ones with crises.
“I want to make this clear before people start saying: Oh, Wike took the party to court. Wike is a strong party man.”
Ayu said he was happy that Wike came out immediately to deny that he took the party to court.
2023: Keyamo Reveals Tinubu-Shettima Podcast Four Days To Campaign
The spokesperson for the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo (SAN), has disclosed the first edition of his podcast – a recording of audio discussion – on the numerous achievements of the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
Keyamo revealed this while sharing a clip of his first podcast on social media Saturday evening.
The Minister of State for Labour and Employment hinted that it would also be used as a tool to deflate misconceptions and set the tone for the presidential campaign, which begins September 28.
“I welcome you to the first edition of a weekly podcast I will bring to you as the chief image maker of this campaign, highlighting the issues, debunking the fallacies and setting the tone for this campaign on a weekly basis.”
He also said his candidate (Tinubu) was an easy one to sell, adding that his records were there for everyone to see.
Amid Wike Chaos, PDP Starts Atiku Campaign
Considers Abuja, Asaba Or Yola For Flag-off
Despite the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the party is going ahead with preparations for the commencement of its presidential campaign for the 2023 general elections, without the embattled Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, and members of his team.
This is as the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, assured that disagreement among members would be resolved very soon.
Wike and his supporters had, on Wednesday, pulled out of the Campaign Council of the party’s presidential candidate and vowed not to play any role until the National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, resigned.
However, Vanguard learnt that the PDP, which has fixed Wednesday, September 28, for the inauguration of the Campaign Council, is considering three states/ venues for the flag-off.
The presidential and National Assembly campaigns begin the same Wednesday, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) timetable, and will run through Thursday, February 23, 2023, while the elections proper hold Saturday, February 25, 2023.
A party insider familiar with the development said the PDP was putting finishing touches to drawing up the programme of events for the inauguration as well as logistics.
“For now, Abuja, where we will be inaugurating the Campaign Council, Uyo, Asaba and Yola are among the venues being considered. We are taking a lot of things into consideration.
“We have not settled for a venue because our candidate is still moving around meeting zonal caucuses to hear from each one of them directly”, the source revealed.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, who is currently in Uyo with members of the National Working Committee and other party leaders, told Vanguard on the phone that the party was going ahead with its plans and programmes.
He said, “Our programmes are going ahead as planned, nothing has changed. The date for the inauguration of our campaign council is already known, we will make the venue and time for the flag-off public when we are ready.”
The PDP has been enmeshed in internal rumblings since after its presidential primary election in May which Atiku, a former vice president, won.
The decision of Wike, who finished second in the primary, and his supporters not to be part of the presidential campaign has further widened the cracks in the party.
While the PDP standard bearer is doing everything to unite the party for the forthcoming elections, the state chapters have remained divided.
It is understood that in Cross Rivers State, while a former governor and member of the reconciliation committee, Mr Liyel Imoke, is in the camp of Atiku, another former governor, Mr Donald Duke, is in Wike’s camp.
Findings also showed that in Lagos State, while a former Deputy National Chairman, Chief Olabode George, is in bed with Wike who, he said, was fighting for justice and equity in the PDP, the party’s governorship candidate in the 2023 elections, Olajide ‘Jandor’ Adediran, is with Atiku.
And whereas the governor-elect in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke, is with the Atiku group, a governorship aspirant in the last election, Dotun Babayemi, has joined the Wike group.
In Ekiti, those in the Atiku camp include former deputy governors Kolapo Olusola Eleka, Dr Sikiru Lawal, and Senator Abiodun Olujimi. Others are the factional state chairman, Deji Ogunsakin, a former PDP chairman, Gboyega Oguntuase, PDP State Publicity Secretary, Raphael Adeyanju, state Woman Leader, Sade Akinrinmade, former Deputy Speaker, Segun Adewumi and former House of Assembly member, Hon. Samuel Omotosho.
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Those in Wike’s camp include former Gov. Ayodele Fayose, Mr. Lere Olayinka, all party candidates except Senator Olujimi, former acting Gov. Tunji Odeyemi and the Secretary, Elders Council, Mr. Idowu Odeyemi.
In Ondo State, while the two-term governor, Olusegun Mimiko, is with Wike, his political son and former governorship candidate of the PDP in the state, Eyitayo Jegede, is a staunch ally of Atiku.
Also, a former deputy governor, Hon Agboola Ajayi, who was in the same camp with Mimiko during the last governorship election in Ondo, is not on the same page with him this time around. Ajayi is with Atiku even as he’s contesting for the Senate seat in Ondo South.
Many leaders of the party in the state are not at home with the support Jegede is giving to Atiku and the make-belief that the party in the state is lining up behind Atiku.
Those who spoke with Sunday Vanguard in confidence recalled how Wike and Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State bankrolled Jegede’s governorship election in 2020 and also supported the PDP while Atiku ignored the party during its trying times after Jegede lost the election to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Sunday Vanguard’s findings further revealed that in Edo State, while Governor Godwin Obaseki is undecided, the South-South zonal Chairman of the party, Chief Dan Orbih, is on the side of Wike.
Sources said the Atiku camp and that of the National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, desperate to win over Orbih from Wike by recognizing his faction against that of Obaseki, has yielded no fruit.
In Ogun State, the party’s governorship candidate, Hon. Ladi Adebutu, his running mate, Abdulkabir Akinlade, and the Sikirulahi Ogundele-led executive are with Atiku while others queue behind Wike.
Whereas in Oyo, Governor Seyi Makinde is one of the arrowheads of Ayu must go and vicariously with Wike, many party leaders in the state are rooting for Atiku.
Disagreement will be resolved soon – Atiku
Meanwhile, Atiku has described it as family issues, challenges bedevilling the party and assured that they would soon be resolved.
He gave the assurance on Friday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, during the 35th-anniversary celebration of the creation of the state.
Represented by the Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, and Governor of Sokoto State, Alh. Aminu Tambuwal, Atiku appealed to the people to support the PDP to return to power at the centre and also to remain in power in the state.
READ ALSO: wikeAyu: I Will Fight To Finish, Wike Insists
His words: “I urge Akwa Ibom people to continue their support for the governor to finish strong. I believe also that with your support, Pastor Umo Eno, will emerge as your next governor. We believe that there should be continuity of PDP in Akwa Ibom while our party will return to power in 2023.
“Yes, we must acknowledge that we are having internal family issues, but be rest assured that we are not involved or engaged in the war of attrition.
“It is a political disagreement and very soon, all of that will be resolved and the PDP will remain stronger, until we win the election, by the grace of God, come February 2023.”
Why I’m Silent Over PDP Crisis – Saraki
Former Senate President Bukola Saraki has spoken after a long time, giving reasons why he has been silent over the series of crises rocking the Peoples Democratic Party.
Saraki, who just returned from an annual vacation, went straight to Akwa Ibom State to join the celebration of the 35th anniversary of the state’s creation.
Saraki said he had been working silently, adding that there were times when it was necessary to do this.
The PUNCH reports that the PDP, of which Saraki is a member, has been battling leadership crisis, particularly the aggressive calls for the resignation of its National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, specifically led by governors Nyesom Wike and Seyi Makinde of Rivers State and Oyo State respectively.
Wike’s camp had recently pulled out of the campaign council of the PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
Atiku, who seemed to be boxed in a corner, being a notable figure in the party, had not taken side on the call for the resignation of Ayu.
Rather, Atiku maintained that the party’s constitution must be followed. Atiku also recently said that Ayu could not be forced to resign. This is as Wike continues to drag the party even by holding media parleys, alleging bribery and raising several allegations.
Aggrieved members of the PDP had hinged their calls for the resignation of Ayu on regional reasons, saying they wanted the South to a hold a position in the party’s leadership.
Reacting via Facebook post on his verified page, Saturday, Saraki said, “I just returned from my annual vacation and went straight to Akwa Ibom to join the celebration of the 35th anniversary of the state’s creation.
“As I moved around the country in the past few days, I got the feeling that many people are concerned over my seeming silence on recent developments in our party, the PDP. My response is that there are times to speak and be heard and there are times when working silently behind the scene is more productive. This is such a time.”
Throwing weight behind Atiku, Saraki said, “The PDP and Atiku Abubakar remain the best option for Nigerians in the 2023 polls!”
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