The campaign of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the 2023 general elections, Atiku Abubakar, has given reason why the chairman of the nation’s main opposition party, Iyorchia Ayu, cannot be removed at this time.
The PDP has for months been rocked by internal crisis, with a camp loyal to Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, demanding Mr Ayu’s resignation to enable a replacement from the south of Nigeria to be appointed. That camp believes that is one of the ways of addressing the lopsidedness in the leadership of the party.
But speaking through Charles Aniagwu, one of its spokespersons, the Atiku campaign said instead of removing Mr Ayu, the PDP was exploring other options in resolving the crisis rocking the party.
Mr Aniagwu said as a listening party, the party was taking a second look at the issues based on what was permissible by the laws of the party.
Speaking on Arise TV on Saturday, Mr Aniagwu said sacking Mr Ayu would create constitutional crisis for the party which would snowball into greater problems than what the party was currently faced with.
According to him, the main issue being canvassed by the stakeholders is the stepping down of the National Chairman which has now been overtaken by events following the vote of confidence by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party.
“People may misinterpret it to mean calling the bluff of certain stakeholders but that is far from it because the party leadership examined the issues vis-a-vis the provisions of the party’s constitution as amended in 2017,” Mr Ayu said.
“When you look at that constitution, there are principal officers called the National Working Committee of the party led by the National Chairman and in the other of hierarchy, the Deputy National Chairman who must also come from same zone with the National Chairman is next in line.
“The third in line is the National Secretary and when you look at these positions, the National Chairman is from the North, the second in command is also from the North by virtue of the provision of the party’s constitution.
“In section 45 of the party’s constitution, in the event of removal or resignation of the National Chairman, the National Deputy Chairman takes over and acts in the position of that National Chairman pending when the party is able to organise another election or do a NEC meeting to be able to take a decision as to how to rearrange the hierarchy of the party.”
Mr Aniagwu said because the positions were elective positions, even if Mr Ayu were to step down for power to come to the South, the provisions of the constitution of the party would also be offended.
“That can only happen if you can also take a decision to remove the Deputy National Chairman of the party who the lot immediately falls on by provisions of the law.
“Even if the party is able to solve that puzzle by bringing both National Chairman and Deputy to South, the third person in the hierarchy of the National Working Committee of the party is the National Secretary and that is in the South specifically Senator Samuel Anyanwu from Imo State.
“Now if you decide to bring this two positions to the South, have you also made arrangements to take the National Secretary to the North?
“Because of these legal impediments the party examined it that given the time that we have which is just about six months to the general elections, that it may likely snowball into some form of crisis that could trigger a whole lot of discomfort within the party if we proceed to begin to make these changes that there is the tendencies that the party may be embroiled in a crisis that would be worse than the one we are seeing at the moment.
“That greater crisis is what the ruling APC is waiting to happen but the leadership of the party is intelligent enough and am happy that Governor Nyesom Wike and other leaders appreciate the need for the party to move as a whole into the 2023 general elections.”
The Atiku campaign spokesperson further said it was on the basis of this that the party decided to look at what was possible at the moment and that gave room for the resignation of Walid Jibrin and subsequent emergence of Senator Adolphus Wagbara as Chairman Board of Trustees.
“The emergence of Wagbara in the south to join the Vice presidential candidate and National Secretary had created some form of balance in the interim.
“But what is most important is that there is a bigger elephant here which is winning the 2023 general elections because Nigerians are looking up to the PDP to rescue the nation from where we are at the moment.
“I am convinced that our leaders who have been craving for these changes would appreciate the fact that the party is listening but because of time probably when the party may have won the elections in 2023 by the grace of God, we can now proceed to make some of these alterations that may not be injurious to our quest to win the general elections,” Mr Aniagwu said.