Indications emerged last night that presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar may have driven into a political cul-de-sac over conditions listed by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and National Chairman of the party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu’s stance who, it was learnt, may not step down from his office.
Vanguard also learnt that even if Ayu steps down, his position will be taken over by another person from the same Northern region.
The PDP constitution, according to a source familiar with the workings of the party, states that once a national chairman is resigning his office, he must be succeeded by a new candidate from the same geopolitical zone.
With this, the signs that the crisis
rocking the PDP, may not abate soon, as Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is said to be having sleepless nights over the conditions given by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.
Part of the agreement, it was learned, was that Senator Ayu should be given a dignified exit and accommodated in the new PDP government when it is formed.
Ayu may resist stepping down—PDP source
Giving insight into the crisis within the party yesterday, a former member of the National Working Committee, NWC, told Vanguard in confidence that Ayu has reiterated his resolve not to step down.
The PDP leader, who spoke under anonymity, said though the PDP presidential candidate might consider Wike’s request, Ayu would not step down.
The source said: “Atiku may consider Wike’s demands that Ayu should step down but Ayu will resist the move for his resignation. He argues that he cannot assist Atiku and Okowa to become the presidential candidate and the running mate and then, they cannot stand by him.
‘’This is a dilemma for them. Ayu is insisting that Atiku and the PDP damn Wike on calls for his (Ayu’s) resignation and if he does not resign at the end of the day, the Wike camp will take its next step as regards their political future.”
Ayu not appointed, but elected—Ally
Attempts to get a response from the party’s national chairman were unsuccessful as a call to his Media Aide, Simon Imobo-Tswam, was neither picked nor returned.
However, an associate of the national chairman, who did not want his name in print because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said: “We are not bothered by speculations about Ayu’s fate.
“The PDP is a democratic institution and we follow due process, bear this in mind, Ayu was not appointed, he was elected.
“Our presidential candidate and lovers of this great party will not bow to pressure wherever it is coming from to throw our party into another crisis.
“We should be talking about our campaign council and how to get this rudderless APC out of power instead of this needless distractions.”
Atiku in dilemma over Wike’s request
An ally of the former Vice President told Vanguard that though the PDP presidential candidate might consider Wike’s request, his loyalists were not disposed to it, saying the governor was taking it too far.
He said: “There are a lot of interests around the principal who do not accept Wike’s demands. These interests around Atiku feel that such request is not coming in good faith and they believe that it is dangerous, risky and dicey to tinker with the current formation of the party and the NWC just a few weeks to the general campaign.”
Asked whether Atiku was disposed to Wike’s demands, the source said: “Anything that will make the party united is what he (Atiku) will go for but on Wike’s request, I will say he (Atiku) is in a dilemma between those interests and what Wike is asking for.
“Let’s be honest with ourselves, what Wike is asking for is extreme because a lot of these candidates you are talking about, the Ayu executive brought them in and you cannot now say you want to trade them off.
‘’You know, such precedence in politics is risky because what it means is that next time; it gives their candidate the identity of a personality who is not reliable and who can sacrifice anything for his interest. So, a lot of things are attached to it but I do not see it scaling through.”