In order to keep his commitment to resign if the PDP nominates a presidential candidate from northern Nigeria for the elections next year, Iyorchia Ayu, the national chairman of the party, has been persuaded by Adakole Ijogi, a party chieftain, to step down from his position.
“It is just a simple process to know that the party was built on certain fundamental principles of equity, fairness, justice, inclusion,” Ijogi, who hails from Benue State, said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily Thursday.
After former vice president Atiku Abubakar was announced as the PDP’s presidential candidate in May, calls for Ayu to step down as the party’s chairman continued. His comment is the most recent example of these calls.
According to reports, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike outlined conditions to remain in the party after losing the PDP presidential primary to Atiku, who is from Adamawa State in North-East Nigeria. One of those conditions includes that Ayu, who is from Benue State in northern Nigeria, should step down for a southerner.
In contrast to his pledge from October 2021 that he would gladly step aside “if the PDP says I should step down once a presidential candidate emerges and happens to be in the north,” Ayu insisted on Wednesday that he would not retire.
“I was voted as PDP national chairman to serve for four years. I am not even a year old on the position,” the former lawmaker told BBC Hausa. “I have not violated any rules; in fact, I am working to bring reforms to the party. I am truly not bothered by the unnecessary controversy being generated.”
While preferring a solution to the controversy, Ijogi said, “You have the presidential candidate that is fixed, that is, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. You now have the BoT chairman that is not fixed, that is flexible; that can leave or stay. We have the national chairman that can leave or stay. It depends on what the leadership of the party wants.
“They have to agree on what to give, and from the feelers we have gotten, they are requesting that the national chairman paves the way for the party’s chairmanship to move south for equity, fairness, and justice, especially as we are going into the campaigns. This is not because there have been some internal wrangling and disagreement within some leaders of the party arising from the way the primaries went.
“I think the national leadership of the party is aware that the Peoples Democratic Party is not one individual, and it is not the national chairman of the party that brought in the (presidential) candidate of the party.
“It is just a simple process to know that the party was built on certain fundamental principles of equity, fairness, justice, inclusion.
“The national chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, promised he was going to resign if a (presidential) candidate of northern Nigerian extraction emerges.”
A northerner from Nasarawa State and the chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Walid Jibrin, previously agreed that it is unfair for the party to have its presidential candidate and national chairman from the same region.