Amid calls by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and other members of his faction that the national chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Iyorchia Ayu, the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has said that Ayu cannot be removed from office until he completes his tenure.
Atiku said that Ayu, irrespective of the agitation from members, could only be removed from office in accordance with rules and regulations set by the PDP constitution for such development in the party.
He noted that part of the regulations was for the Board of Trustees (BoT) to pass a vote of no confidence on Ayu but the advisory body supported his chairmanship which sealed the fate of all agitators.
The former Vice President stressed that aside from the party’s constitution, the national chairman could only be replaced if he voluntarily resigned and none of the party members including Wike and his men, could decide for Ayu.
He made the clarification on Wednesday while reacting to Wike and other PDP chieftains’ withdrawal from his campaign team, barely a week to the election campaign kick-off for next year’s election in the country.
Announcing their stance, a former deputy national chairman of the party, Bode George, maintained that their position not to participate in the 2023 presidential election campaign was not negotiable as the chairmanship of Ayu undermined the unity and constitution of the party.
The PDP flagbearer, in a statement made available to newsmen, stated that the pronouncement by the senior and influential members of the party came to him as a surprise after being assured of their support and commitment to ousting the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) next year.
According to him, apart from the Rivers State chapter of the PDP, all the remaining states of the federation submitted names of people who they wanted to be included in the Presidential Campaign Council.
Atiku argued that the new twist was to further reiterated their stance on the need for equity and fairness would not affect his ongoing resolve to rescue the country from the shackles of the APC.
“On the calls for the resignation or removal from office of our national chairman, however, I must reiterate what I have said severally in public and in private; the decision for Dr. Iyorchia Ayu to resign from office is personal to Dr. Ayu and, neither I nor anyone else can make that decision for him. As to the calls for the removal of Dr. Ayu from office, however, I will state that, as a committed democrat and firm believer in the rule of law and democratic tenets, and our party being one set up, organized, and regulated by law and our constitution, it is my absolute belief that everything that we do in our party must be done in accordance with, and conformity to, the law and our constitution.
“If Dr. Ayu is to be removed from office, it must be done in accordance with the laws that set out the basis for such removal. In any event, you will all recall that the very body that is empowered by law to initiate this removal from office, has already passed a vote of confidence in him.
“I have a plan to address these issues and I have, graciously, been given the ticket to lead our great party in next year’s presidential elections, with the singular mandate to come and lead the efforts to cure these ills. It is in this light that I have reached out to every single member of our great party to join me in the massive undertaking required to reset the ship of state, and help rebuild our country.
“Every single person who loves this country, as I do, is needed for the arduous tasks that face us ahead as a nation, and this includes every member of the PDP. And it is my fervent hope and prayer that every man and woman of goodwill will join hands with us to help rebuild and reposition our beloved country. In this light, therefore, I will urge those members of our party that have stated their resolve to withdraw from the Presidential Campaign Council to have rethink, retrace their steps, and join us in these efforts.
“The above notwithstanding, and for the sake of our country, our children, and those yet unborn, we must not, for one minute, shirk in our responsibilities to rebuild this beloved country of ours”.