Threat to bar candidates: Wike, CUPP, Coalition Dare Ayu

RIVERS – The crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is festering by the day as Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, spokesman of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), Ikenga Ugochinyere and the Benue Coalition for Democracy (BCD), yesterday, took the National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, to the canvass over his comment that nobody could sack him from office and that he can stop any contestant from contesting in the forthcoming elections.

Ayu has been on warpath with five aggrieved governors of the PDP, including Governors Wike, Samuel Ortom, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Okezie Ikpeazu and Seyi Makinde of Rivers, Benue, Enugu, Abia and Oyo states as well as other aggrieved leaders of the party who have been pushing for replacement.

Speaking at his private residence, in Rumuepirikom, Obio/Akpor, yesterday, Wike stated that Ayu, by his statements, had demonstrated impunity which has given wrong signal to Nigerians about the chances of the opposition party in the forthcoming elections.

Governor Wike declared that PDP was in dilemma, and the national chairman’s utterances might be detrimental to their chances of clinching power in 2023.

“The statement credited to the PDP National Chairman that he has right to stop any candidate from contesting election is very unfortunate. Nobody said that Ayu should be sacked.

“By our constitution, there is zoning for political parties. There is no way a party candidate and the National Chairman of a party can come from the same place. Nobody is interested in sacking Dr. Iyorchia Ayu. What we are saying is that the National Chairman of PDP should concede to the agreement that he should resign the moment the presidential candidate emerged.

“Nobody said he is sacking anybody. What we are saying is that he should keep to the agreement. If you said that you are not keeping to the promise, no problem.

“I heard when he said that he would stop Ortom from contesting; a man that brought you and pleaded that you should be made chairman? Ortom stood as a guarantor for Ayu to become the national chairman of PDP. I dare Ayu to stop anybody from contesting the election.

“I dare him to come to Rivers State and stop any candidate from contesting the election. Do we really want to win election? The party is really in a dilemma. The presidential candidate of the party comes from the North and if you said that you will not keep to agreement, so be it. I will not be a party to anybody that wants to use me to be relevant.”

In his reaction, Ugochinyere, said Ayu has no power to stop any of the party’s candidate from contesting.

The CUPP chairman, who is also the PDP candidate for Ideato North/Ideato South Federal Constituency, in a statement, described the comments credited to Ayu as “reckless”. He said even if the PDP chairman tried to stop any validly nominated candidate, such action would not stand in Court.

Ugochinyere, maintained that Ayu’s continued stay in office was not in the interest of the party. Consequently, he charged all lovers of democracy and members of the opposition party to insist on his exit.

“Ayu should know or be reminded that he has no power to stop any candidate of the PDP for any reason whatsoever. My advice for him is that for the little period that he will remain the party chairman, Ayu should stop making dictatorial statements,” Ugochinyere stated.

Also reacting, BCD, in a statement by its coordinator, Aloysius Gbakaan, reminded Ayu that he did not own the party.

“Yesterday in Gboko, he sounded like a despot who owns PDP boasting that he could stop anyone from contesting elections. But under the PDP constitution, the national nhairman does not have such absolute powers. Ayu should remember Uche Sekondus. Where is Sekondus today?”

The coalition likened him to a military dictator who has absolute power under his control, saying “but we are not surprised. Ayu is a Machiavellian. He belongs to the ilk of those who are sly, deceptive, distrusting, and manipulative.

The group also berated him for keeping mute over killings in Benue especially in Gbeji and the flood disaster in the state.

“Benue is one of the states facing the biggest floods with thousands of people rendered homeless by the surging water.

“As a man who is from Benue State and as the national chairman of a political party which is seeking to take over the reins of power at the centre, many Nigerians expected Ayu to visit Gbeji and sympathize with families of those killed in the attack while condemning the dastardly act.

“He was also expected to visit the areas most affected by flooding and offer some words of consolation.

“It would not have been too much to send relief materials to the victims. In fact, a man who is not self-centred would have invited his presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar to accompany him to visit Gbeji and the flood hit areas.

“Ayu did none of these things and instead mounted the political podium in Gboko to attack Governor Samuel Ortom and other PDP stakeholders in Benue state who have called his bluff.”

They said, “Ayu and Atiku must stop living in denial, thinking that only people of a certain tribe, religion or region would decide their fate come 2023 as they need the support of all Nigerians.”

The BCD called for an immediate apology from Ayu for playing politics when his people are being killed insisting that, “He and Atiku have spat on the graves of scores of Benue people hacked down by satanic herders who are on the prowl to actualize the Fulani agenda.

“We want Nigerians who are desirous of enjoying peace after the tenure of the largely incompetent President Buhari to beware of Iyorchia Ayu and Atiku Abubakar’s utterances now that they are not near the seat of power. They have no sympathy or good feelings for the people. Atiku will be worse than Buhari.”

The coalition further stated that Benue voters find the insult from Ayu and Atiku unacceptable and will show their anger during the next year’s election.

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