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The Spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Council, Charles Aniagwu, has described calls for the removal of the national chairman of the party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, as ill-timed.
Aniagwu, who spoke on, “Good Morning Nigeria,” a Nigerian Television Authority Network programme on Friday, said those calling for Ayu’s removal citing equity and justice were not incorrect, however, he pleaded with them to look at the bigger picture because of the proximity to the 2023 general elections.
The spokesman of the council pointed out that Ayu never denied approving to relinquish his position if a presidential candidate emerged from the North, and that he would quit if the party wins the presidential election. The national chairman had made it clear that if the party requests him to quit, he will. The spokesman further stated that the party did not make that request; the NEC passed a confidence vote on the National Working Committee.
He further urged that the party members listen to what he had said and the laws of the party, saying they should always think of the country first and not about North or South, which is inclined to separate them.
“In developed climes, nobody talks about zones and regions; they talk about what works for the people. President Buhari is from Katsina today but I am not too sure that life has become far better for those in Katsina than it was in 2015.
“In 2006, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was president and Ahmadu Ali was national chairman, the primary was conducted and Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, of blessed memory, emerged presidential candidate for the party.
“Ahmadu Ali prosecuted that election and Yar’Adua became president before the party held a convention to bring in somebody from the South and nobody asked Ahmadu Ali to leave because a presidential candidate had emerged from the North.
“When Jonathan became president after the death of Yar’Adua, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor remained National Chairman of the party until it was time for another election.
“These are tenured offices and the issue of zoning is only in the offices and positions, the position of a presidential candidate is not an office, it only becomes an office after winning the election,” Aniagwu said.
He said the presidential candidate is not in contrast to Ayu stepping aside, however, that should become after the general elections.
“Again Ayu’s stepping down is not the problem, going by our party constitution, moving the chairman from the North to the South is the problem because the deputy national is expected to take over from him by Section 45 of the party’s constitution.
“And so we appeal to our great leader, Governor Nyesom Wike and other stakeholders of the party to respect the decision of NEC on the matter, by exercising patience with the party until after the general elections.
“The reason why we are pleading with them is that Atiku wants to run with everybody on board, in six months this election would have been done and dusted and these changes would be affected,” he said.