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PDP Divided: Atiku, Wike Camps Disagree Over Ayu’s Dismissal

Speaking at Bellmouth Junction, Degema Krakrama bridge, venue of the inauguration of the Phase One of the Trans-Kalabari Road, Governor Wike advised Ayu to “come to terms with the reality that his calamitous reign has come to an end.” Sun reports.

He said Ayu’s claim that only the National Executive Committee (NEC) can suspend him is a pointer that he is suffering from delusions of grandeur.

“Ayu said nobody can suspend him. But, today, he has packed out from the national office. We have an acting chairman. I told him he will go whether you like it or not, he will go.”

Governor Wike explained, peradventure, Ayu is unfamiliar with the party’s constitution that the court, sometimes in the past, struck out in its judgement section that bestowed powers on NEC only, to suspend national officers.

“Those lawyers telling you that the ward has no power to suspend you, that it’s only National Executive Council (NEC), then, you don’t understand what is happening. When you came, it was the ward that suspended (Uche) Secondus, and you went and took office. Is it not?

“So, is it now that you know that it is only NEC that can suspend you? Let me tell you, since they’ve not told you, the court has struck off that section of our constitution that says it’s only NEC that can suspend (chairman).  PDP did not even appeal the judgement.

“So, forget it, you are  gone. You are wasting your time. We are ready for the battle. I am not from Benue , but I have interest and that interest is that Ayu must go.”

Governor Wike pointed out that Ayu’s suspension by his ward executive showed that he was not a formidable force and respected political leader who commands loyal followers.

“Look at it, a national chairman, your own ward will be suspending you. Does it not tell you that you are not on ground? Your own ward will be suspending you and you go to television to say only NEC can suspend you.  Stay, wait for NEC, but, then, know that you’re gone.”

The governor noted that sadly too, Ayu could not secure winning votes for his preferred candidate in the February 25 presidential election.

This, governor Wike stated, was in addition to electoral failure that greeted Ayu because he lost his unit, ward, local government and the state to the opposition party.

“Ayu, the man you supported for president, you didn’t give him the vote, he lost. We supported a southern president and we won in our states for equity, justice and fairness.

“A man who lost his unit, a man who lost his ward, a man who lost his local government, a man who lost his State and he is coming to preside over us who won our units, won our wards, won our local governments , won our state, something must be wrong.”

Governor Wike also told Ayu: “You cannot reap where you never sowed. If all of us have lost our states, what will you be chairing.

“You want to use Rivers State to be chairman, we are not party to that. Go and bring your own local government. Here (in Rivers), we won 32 over 32 seats for House of Assembly, Ayu, how many did you win? Here, we won the three seats for senate too, Ayu, how many did you win? We won 11 out of the 13 seats for House of representatives, Ayu, how many did you win?”

•Bode George: Divided house stands defeated

Former deputy national chairman of the party, Mr. Bode George, hailed the sack of Ayu, who he claimed has been handling the party’s affairs like a private enterprise.

“I had meetings with Ayu but he wouldn’t listen. How can you be throwing fireworks at key officials of the party. Moreover, only the National Executive Committee (NEC) can suspend members of NEC. All these people are members of NEC. You don’t run a party like a private enterprise.

“I am good at physics. We were taught that, ‘to every action, there is equal and opposite reaction’. There are challenges rocking the party already, the election is not totally over yet, you don’t begin to act like headmaster against your party. He didn’t get approval from NEC before suspending them. A divided house stands defeated.”

He, however, called on aggrieved members to sheathe their swords and look up to post-mortem analysis of the party. He reasoned that Ayu and other party stalwarts steering the affairs of the party would one day leave the stage but they should not let their actions drag the party to bottomless abyss.

•Suspension illegal –PDP PCC

Mr Charles Aniagwu, spokesperson for PDP Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), dismissed the suspension as illegal.

He said Section 57(7) of the PDP Constitution was clear on who had the power to suspend or discipline a member of the NWC or NEC of the party.

“When they proceeded to ask the ward of the national chairman to take disciplinary action against him assuming that they have the power they ought to have given him fair hearing by summoning him to give him the opportunity to defend himself.

“But the Section 57 did not give them the power to carry out such action against a member of NWC.

“So, if anyone is proceeding to court with such illegal suspension he is just making unnecessary troubles for the party,” he said.

The spokesperson said the exparte order restraining Ayu from carrying out his duties was most unfortunate as the basis for granting it was faulty.

He, however, expressed optimism that the party would come out stronger from its current travails.

•Group kicks

Members of PDP Leadership League have condemned what they termed illegal suspension of Ayu.

They also called on the NWC to enforce discipline and resist a takeover by “rogue governors.”

In a statement by its leaders, May Ubeku, Ose Anenih, John Shuaibu and Babasola Kuti, they said some members of the party were deliberately working to sabotage the party.

“As we come to the end of INEC’s poorly conducted 2023 General Elections and the start of our judicial challenges; it is important we do a post-mortem of our performance during the elections and identify members and leaders who deliberately sabotaged efforts of the PDP to rescue Nigeria from the ruinous reign of the APC.

“In the run-up to the elections and during the elections proper, party leaders and members, in pursuit of personal and pecuniary agendas publicly and consistently flouted these rules and guidelines. Just as you cannot build a society where the Rule of Law is ignored; we cannot build a Party where leaders believe they are kings and emperors; untouchable because they see themselves as above the law.

“We were all witnesses to the disgraceful anti-party antics of the self—styled G-5 Governors who directly and indirectly worked for the APC; despite the fact that this same APC had over the last 8 years made Nigeria not just the poverty capital of the world but made us one of the most insecure nations in the world; had delivered to Nigerians the highest unemployed youth population in the world; and had raised our debt to unsustainable levels; and all this while they trampled on the rights and freedoms of millions of ordinary Nigerians.”

“Governor Nyesom Wike, despite his public statements and actions against the presidential candidate of the party and the NWC, secured a court injunction restraining the party from disciplining him as did Governor Samuel Ortom but we are pleased to see that other party leaders who betrayed the Party and their own followers are being suspended and expelled by the National Working Committee (NWC).

“We applaud the Party’s decision to respect the Courts, and once the injunctions are set aside, we urge the Party to show the world that no one man is bigger than the PDP; no matter how much power, wealth or violence he may claim to control. We also urge the NWC to give all offending members fair hearing, no matter how grievous or provocative their actions may appear to be. We cannot, in pursuit of discipline; become guilty of violating fundamental provisions of our own Constitution.

“We advise Governor Wike, a lawyer himself, to respect the Courts. The recent demolition notice to AIT is curious; because the case is in court and is slated to be heard on the 6th of April. Any animus, real or perceived, Gov. Wike might have with the company and her owners surely does not give him the right to act in contempt of court processes?

“Even more curious was his magisterial press conference in which he purported to reverse the suspension of Gov. Ayodele Fayose, the former governor of Ekiti who came on national television to confess to the world that he worked against the PDP and supported the APC’s candidates in the just concluded elections.

“Governor Wike, whose reign as Governor of Rivers State ends in two months, spoke like the PDP was one of his local governments. His arrogance was as alarming as it was comically tragic.

“And this point must be stressed repeatedly: no man controls the PDP. To claim to do so is hubris of the highest order. The PDP is a national party. It was not formed as a vehicle to grab power; neither was it formed as a platform of convenience for the expression of regional ambitions.

“We are a national party; owned by all Nigerians who yearn for a better and brighter future for themselves and for their children. No man can buy the dreams of Nigerians; no man can buy the PDP,” the statement further read.

They urged that “the national chairman Ayu and other members of the NWC, must become forward looking. The world and Nigeria are changing; and as a Party we must keep pace with these changes or be left behind.

“Some decisions taken during the last election cycle were borne out of sentiment rather than data. Diplomacy, compromise and negotiation; the tools of the politician; were at times egregiously absent. You also need to be brave. Selective justice (and discipline) is no justice at all. No one can be seen to be above the law, or indispensable.”


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