The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is presently battling to salvage what is left of its structures following the unending crisis that had engulfed the party and one of the reasons that led to its defeat at the last presidential election on February 25.
Daily Trust Saturday reports that following the opposition party’s defeat, its national chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, was suspended by his ward executives and subsequently sacked from office.
The executive members of Igyorov ward, Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State, had passed a vote of no confidence on Ayu over alleged anti-party activities in March 2023.
The executives also alleged Ayu did not vote in the March 18 governorship and the House of Assembly elections in the state and also worked against the success of the PDP in his ward during the elections.
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Ayu was shown the way out over his alleged refusal to honour an agreement on the zoning of political positions, the fallout of the last elections, and his daring move to summon his state governor, Samuel Ortom, before the disciplinary committee of the party, were some of his sins.
Just recently, the party also lost the battle to install its loyal members as minority leaders of the National Assembly to outside forces said to be loyal to President Bola Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Behind the scene moves to install a new chair
Daily Trust Saturday reliably gathered that worried by the above developments, some party stakeholders are already working behind the scene to reposition the party, or at least get an able National Chairman that can rally support of the aggrieved members and work for the resuscitation of the main opposition party.
One of those being touted for the onerous job is former Senate President and Ex-Governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki.
The National Coordinator of Saraki Support Group for the 2023 presidential election, Osaro Onaiwu, told Daily Trust Saturday that there is “a lot of pressure from the North Central people, adding that they want him to come and rebuild the party.
“A lot of people in the country and across other zones want him to come and rebuild the party,” Osaro said.
He said even though the former Senate president has not made up his mind, “As it stands, he is the only one that can bring everyone back to the table; he is a unifying factor, the bridge between the old and the young, South and North.
“He has done it before during the reconciliation of the party, he went round the country, so he will do it if he accepts the job. People are putting pressure on him to come and do the job.”
“For me as his former DG, we are watching how things are unfolding, the party is at the Tribunal, and I learnt some persons are appealing the removal of Dr Iyorchia Ayu. I will want to see how that goes before I jump into the wagon of those that want him to be chairman of the party.
“The issue is that I cannot allow his brand to be humiliated, he is a good brand, he would rebuild the party, but we must allow things to move in the normal way.
“I will want a united party, a party that is strong as an opposition that can reconcile aggrieved parties. We have factions in states; we need a strong character that can bring everyone back on the table,” he said.
Another source who is in the know of the plans disclosed to Daily Trust Saturday that positioning of the former senate President for the party top job has also pitched some stakeholders against themselves in the party.
The source who wouldn’t want to be named, however, cautioned that if not handled carefully, the matter can open another frontier of crisis.
But one of Saraki’s allies, who did not want his name in print because he was not authorized to speak on what he called a developing issue, said “Please this is an issue I cannot say anything about. This development as you very well know is ongoing with discussion in many quarters within the PDP. Our leader, the former Senate president Bukola Saraki has not said anything on the matter, he has not also informed us to say anything, so you can understand my situation.
He, however, said: “I can tell you that all that have been happening or suggestions that have been taking place are among those that feel he has what it takes to take over the party at this critical period and probably change its fortunes.
“You know where we are coming from and the situation of the party at present. So, let us watch what will happen in the coming days.”
Reacting to the development, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, told Daily Trust Saturday that he was not aware of any such move.
Ologunagba, however, disclosed that the PDP is working within its rules on the chairmanship issue and will apply its constitution adequately and at the right time, adding “We don’t work based on the expectation of people.”
He said: “I am not aware of anybody angling to be party chairman. The party is working in line with our constitution, we are a party of rule of law and constitution and we are applying our constitution accordingly.”
Party chieftains close to the former Kwara governor were not ready to speak on the issue.
Daily Trust Saturday reports that after the PDP Governors forum inaugural meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, Bauchi State governor and Chairman of the Forum, Bala Muhammed, was asked about the issue of getting a substantive National Chairman for the party following the sack of embattled former Chairman Dr Iyorchia Ayu, and he said the issue will be resolved through the respective party organs.
He said: “It is a party issue, this is PDP Governors Forum, we are going to tackle this through the respective organs of the party.”