The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party on Wednesday convened an emergency meeting following the withdrawal of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, his Oyo State counterpart, Seyi Makinde, ex-Information Minister, Prof. Jerry Gana, and other prominent party chieftains from the party’s presidential campaign council.
The Wike camp announced their plan not to participate in the campaign council which was scheduled for inauguration next Wednesday after a meeting at Wike’s private residence in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Wednesday morning.
They hinged their decision on the failure of the party’s Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu to resign from office, insisting that the position must come to the South for balance, justice, and equity.
Sequel to the development, the main opposition party went into a marathon meeting to deliberate on the impact of the withdrawal on the party’s plans.
The party spokesman, Debo Ologunagba confirmed to The PUNCH on Wednesday that the party had been meeting since Wike’s camp announced their withdrawal from the campaign council, adding that the National Working Committee would announce their decision today (Thursday).
“As a party, we need to take a firm position to rebuild and rebrand our party. We have been in a marathon meeting since morning (Wednesday). But one thing is clear, no one has rejected our presidential candidate; that is very important. The meeting will continue tomorrow (today) and after the meeting, we will make our position clear,’’ he stated.
But the Wike camp insisted that only the removal of Ayu would make them rescind their decision.
The PUNCH reports that Wike, who lost the presidential ticket to former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar in the May primaries, has so far refused to be swayed by entreaties to work with Ayu.
Reacting to the withdrawal from his campaign council on Wednesday, Atiku in a statement he personally signed reiterated his decision not to interfere in the demands for Ayu’s removal.
The statement titled, ‘Let us join hands and move on with the task of nation building,’ read in part, “Early this morning (Wednesday), my attention was drawn to a news clip in which several very senior and influential members of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party, addressed the press and, amongst other things, declared that they are withdrawing forthwith from the Presidential Campaign Council set up by our party to judiciously plan and prosecute the general elections set to hold in February and March 2023, on the one hand; and reiterated their earlier calls for the resignation or removal from office of the national chairman of our party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, on the other hand.
“The people that addressed the press must have their reasons for withdrawing from the Presidential Campaign Council, and I will not speculate as to what those reasons may be.
“Personally, I am quite surprised with this withdrawal because, as I have been informed by officials of our party, apart from the Rivers State chapter of the PDP, all the remaining states of the federation submitted names of people who they wanted included in the Presidential Campaign Council.
“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.’’
The presidential candidate further said that as a committed democrat and firm believer in the rule of law and democratic tenets, and the party being one set up, organised and regulated by law and constitution, it is his belief that everything must be done in accordance with, and in conformity to the law and the PDP constitution.
He noted, “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 his removal from office has already passed a vote of confidence in him.’’
He, therefore, appealed to the party members to join his drive to lead the country and rebuild the nation.
Atiku also urged the party members that announced their withdrawal from his campaign council to have a rethink.
However, a member of the party’s National Executive Committee, Chief Olisa Metuh, said Atiku would go on with the campaigns even as he berated a member of Wike’s camp, Chief Bode George, for his “hatred for Atiku.”
He told The PUNCH, “Bode George has been consistent in his advocacy for the South but Nigeria is made up of the South and North. He has also been consistent in his hatred for Atiku.
“Atiku will go on with the campaigns because not doing so would be a victory for those who don’t want him to succeed. Truth is, Atiku has no power to remove Ayu.’’
Dismissing the Wike’s camp’s demands, a member of the PDP National Working Committee, Timothy Osadolor, carpeted the Rivers governor for allegedly holding on to his grudges for too long, warning that his ego might be his undoing.
Osadolor said the call for Ayu’s sacking was a plot to sabotage the party’s chances in the 2023 elections.
He stated, “The situation is being taken too far; Wike is crying too much for a matured person. I don’t know why Wike with all the experiences he had achieved in life cannot get over the loss of the primary. Ego is good but ego to some candidates can lead to destruction.’’
The NWC member further stated, “Why did you want to bring down the house because of your interest? Calling for the sacking of Iyorchia Ayu and supporters at his whims is not possible which he knows is not possible at this time which is not even what he wants.
“I believe calling for the sacking of Iyorchia Ayu is to sabotage the general elections and I believe he is already manifesting in his actions.”
‘Ayu’s resignation compulsory’
However, the former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Bode George, stressed that the demands for Ayu’s resignation were not a constitutional but a moral issue that requires little reasoning to unify the party.
George stated this when he appeared on Channels TV programme, ‘Politics Today,’ on Wednesday night.
Justifying the demand, he said, “We are not talking about removing him or forcing him to resign. What we are saying is Senator Ayu by himself stated that peradventure the presidential candidate emerges from the north, he would resign. So why is he sticking to the point of our constitution?
“What we are talking about is purely a moral issue. Once we use the same moral issue to allow Atiku Abubakar to compete at the primaries; President Buhari is from the North, should another Northerner replace him? Doesn’t that affect inclusivity?
“If he is talking purely on a legal issue, no, that is not what we are saying; if we use the same moral compass to allow him to compete if we zoned the position, would he have emerged? It is not a fixated thing that can’t be fixed.
“We are not talking on a constitutional issue of Ayu resigning or not, what we are saying is that on a moral basis, resign as national chairman.”
But reacting to the development in the party, Ayu, who spoke through his Special Assistant (Media), Simon Imobo-Tswam implored Wike and his allies to return to the campaign council in the interest of peace.
He said, “How can Iyorchia Ayu step down? The PDP is governed by rules, laws, regulations and conventions. He came through the process of the law and he will leave through the process of the law.
‘’Ayu spoke when he campaigned for this office. He said if a candidate emerges from the North, and the party says he should resign, he will resign. Right now, has the party spoken? Yes. What did the party say? The party gave him a resounding vote of confidence.
“Our appeal is that the party has spoken and it was a vote for unity, a vote for togetherness and purpose. Let us give peace a chance so that we can fight the battle in front of us to displace APC from office.
“As the chairman has said, the confidence vote was not a personal victory. It was a victory of all. It is a win-win for the party. He has appealed that let party faithful focus on the big picture of 2023. It is an appeal that we come back on one page. If we lose this election, Nigerians will not be happy with PDP. Since the PDP left office, the country has been going downhill.’’
Calling for diplomacy to resolve the lingering crisis, Imobo-Tswam said, “We are still appealing. There is a phrase that says ‘What God cannot do, does not exist’ and we are saying ‘what diplomacy cannot achieve does not exist.’ That is what we are saying. Let them come back, so that we can win the election. In an election year, you need everybody. That is our message.”
Makarfi preaches peace
A former governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Makarfi stressed the importance of collective efforts to build bridges and bring everyone on board for the task ahead.
Makarfi, a member of the PDP NEC, said: “I really wouldn’t want to make matters worse. Some of us have roles to play behind the scene to overcome any problem.”
Like Makarfi, the immediate past National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan tasked members to give peace a chance, adding that regardless of the challenges before the party, they are not insurmountable.
“No matter the level of disagreement, issues can and should be resolved within the party,” he told The PUNCH on Wednesday.
Also speaking, a chieftain of the party in the South-West, Mr. Diran Odeyemi, urged the PDP leaders and stakeholders to do everything possible to ensure that Wike does not leave the party.
“We can’t afford to see Governor Wike leave the PDP as that would be disastrous. There is no need for this crisis, if you ask me. Those who truly love this party and who are the cause of this crisis know what to do.
“No sacrifice is too much for the party. They must put the party first and do the right thing and the right thing is equity, fairness and justice,” he noted.
Atiku, London agreement
Meanwhile, a top chieftain of the PDP, who was also present at the Wednesday meeting in Port Harcourt, alleged that the party’s presidential candidate failed to honour the promise he made to Wike and other aggrieved governors during their meeting in London recently.
Asked if he knew the decision taken by the aggrieved southern bloc of the PDP could mar the party’s chances in the 2023 presidential poll, the chieftain said, “Does the candidate himself show the willingness to win? Can you unify Nigeria without unifying the platform you want to use to unify Nigeria? Can you go to war with a divided house? The onus is on him. When they met in London, what did they agree on? And when he came back to the people, he decided to say he has constraints. Was it appropriate for his response to be heard through the media? Was it through the media that they conveyed their proposal to him?
He added, “I agree with him that, yes, he thinks it is time for Ayu to go. He wanted to find out the means and methods of implementing it immediately so that they can move ahead, but regrettably, he did not. As usual, he was with some party leaders in London, and then when he consulted the presidential council, he didn’t invite them to discuss the composition. This showed a total lack of respect for the group. So, the group said, okay, Ayu has lost the right to be an umpire. Therefore, it has nothing to do with making Wike the vice president or not making him vice president, even though he (Atiku) was the one who promised with his mouth to make him.”
The chieftain noted the southern bloc group would remain in the party to campaign for their governorship and National Assembly candidates.
“We are not leaving the party. We are committed PDP members and we will campaign for our party in the states of our various candidates. We will allow them to do their own presidential campaign councils and use their own platform to do their overall campaign and we will help them to use their political sagacity,” he added.
On his part, the media adviser to the former vice president, Paul Ibe said, “When your principal speaks, it is final but I will like to state here that there was no reason for them to do a volte-face.
Their decision is not in the national interest.”
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LAGOS STATE CHAPTER OF NIGERIA UNION OF PENSIONERS ENDORSE ASIWAJU BOLA AHMED TINUBU FOR PRESIDENT AND BABAJIDE OLUSOLA SANWO-OLU FOR SECOND TERM
The Lagos State Chapter of Retirees and Pensioners Association on the 30th January, 2023 made an open declaration in support of the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the second term bid of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu at NECA House, Alausa CBD ,Ikeja.
Prior to the declaration of support, the members of the union had in their hundreds took a walk of about 200 meters in which various banners were displayed showing inscriptions in support of the All Progressives Congress candidates.
Representing the Governor was the Secretary to the State Government Mrs. Folashade Sherifat Jaji who thanked the gathering for deeming it fit to throw their support behind Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu.
She reminded them of the need for all registered voters to have their PVCs collected.
On her part, Mrs. Ajibola Ponle who is the Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions highlighted the positive impacts the State Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu had made and what he is doing in the state in the area of Infrastructural Development, Education, Health, Transportation and many more.
Other speakers were Mr. Kola Peregrino the Deputy Director General who represented Mr. Tayo Ayinde the Director General of Independent Campaign Council. Peregriho attributed the successes recorded in Lagos State as the brainchild of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He submitted that Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu has truly performed beyond expectations since he assumed office three and half years ago.
Furthermore, the Chairman of Nigeria Labour Union Lagos State chapter Ms Agnes Sesi addressed the gathering in a more pragmatic way, saying the Lagos State workers remain far ahead their counterparts across the country in terms of governmental support. She was bold on this because according to her, she compares notes from time to time with other states’ Labour Union leaders. She, therefore, urged the pensioners to vote for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as president and work for the re-election bid of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu.
Also, in his remarks, the Chairman of Nigeria Union of Pensioners Lagos State enclave Rev. Remi Johnson acknowledged the steadfast commitment of government to the plight of pensioners. He advised all his colleagues – pensioners to get their Permanent Voter Card (PVCs) and vote for the candidates of All Progressives Congress in the coming elections.
The event was facilitated by the Directorate of Grassroots Engagement of Independent Campaign Council for Tinubu-Shetima and Sanwo-Olu-Hamzat (ICC) ably led by Hon. Ladi Balogun.
Dignitaries who witnessed the endorsement were Secretary to the State Government Mrs.Folashade Sherifat Jaji, Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions Mrs. Ajibola Ponle, Commissioner for Physical Planning Dr. Tayo Bamgbose-Martins, Deputy Director General ICC Mr. Kola Peregriho, Chairman NLC Ms. Agnes Sesi, Chairman Nigeria Union of Pensioners Lagos State Rev. Remi Johnson, and Director Directorate of Grassroots Engagement ICC Hon. Ladi Balogun among others.
Sponsored Protests Cannot Change Your Status As Sacked State Governor
– Osun APC chairman Tells Adeleke
The Osun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has told Senator Ademola Adeleke to leave up to the reality of his Friday’s sack as the governor of the state by the virtue of the explicit judgement of the state Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
According to a statement issued by the Acting State Chairman of the APC, Sooko Tajudeen Lawal, in Osogbo yesterday,, the sponsored protests of both Adeleke and his party, the PDP, which were shamelessly staged in some of the states yesterday could only worsen their case instead of adding positive value to it at the appelate court.
Lawal stated that it was strange and unbelievable that Adeleke and his party could choose the option of denigrating the judiciary simply because the tribunal judgement did not go their way.
The state acting APC chairman said it was saddening that the sacked Governor Adeleke could be applauding and commending his sponsored protesters who went out to inflict inconvenience and violence on the inhabitants of the state under the guise of protesting the tribunal judgement that was not in the favour of the PDP candidate.
Lawal hinted that his own appraisal of the Adeleke-sponsored protests was an unmistakable conclusion that the sacked governor and his party are bad losers who are thinking that they can whip up the undeserved sentiment of the people in order to curry unmerited favour from the court of the public.
The state acting APC chairman said that the Adeleke sponsored protests were without any effect as there is no nexus between justice and sentiment because the law will always take its cause without the heavens coming down.
He reminded the embattled Senator Adeleke that it should dawn on him by now that he remains a sacked governor until the contrary is stated by a court of competent jurisdiction which is the Court of Appeal in this circumstance.
Lawal stated that no matter the magnitude of Adeleke’s sponsored protests and vilification and denigration of the judiciary, his current status as a sacked governor has the stamp of the law of the land.
The state acting APC chairman stated that whoever has recommended the sponsored protests for Adeleke to make up for his terrible loss at the tribunal is bereft of qualitative advice needed for someone like him who has crashed from his fraudulent political height that was witnessed at the tribunal on Friday.
In his words: “One needs not be a soothsayer to observe and conclude that you have lost this political battle and there is no known political short cut for you to get out of this self-inflicted political conundrum which has irredeemably defied any known remedy.
“I must expressly state here that it is still within the purview of your fundamental human right to approach the Court of Appeal for redress instead of sponsoring violent protests in some states across the state.
“Based on the Friday’s tribunal judgement, it is absolutely illegal for Adeleke to be talking about any mandate as the authentic election results of the July 16, 2022 governorship election has expressly shown that the PDP candidate has no mandate to flaunt to talk less of claiming any.
“It should be known that the incidence of over-voting, basis upon which Adeleke was purportedly declared the winner by the INEC as established by the tribunal, is nothing but unfair play which if left unturned is capable of setting a very bad precedent for our democracy.
“Adeleke should emulate the spirit of sportsmanship and maturity such that was displayed by the APC and Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola having felt cheated, chose lawful and legal way through which they became victorious today”, Lawal counseled.
The state APC acting chairman stated that the protests were by the sacked governor’s sponsored thugs and not the electorate who have been happy and joyous all over the state over the judgment.
Sooko TAJUDEEN LAWAL, Acting Chairman, Osun State APC.
VIDEO: JANDOR UNLEASHES TERROR ON INNOCENT LAGOSIANS
Our attention has been drawn to the reign of terror unleashed on innocent and law abiding citizens of Lagos state by the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in the forthcoming national elections, Jide Adediran, otherwise known as Jandor in the course of his campaign in Surulere Local Government Council of the state.
The incident left in its wake several maimed victims and three people reportedly sent to their untimely death.
We condemn in strong terms the unwarranted and unprovoked resort to violence on the citizens of the state in the name of electioneering campaign.
Lagos cherishes it’s enviable status as the safest state in the country which has been as a result of long running and painstaking investment in security through the provision of the wherewithal and incentives for security agencies.
We view this attack as a ploy to instill fear in the hearts of voters as we count down to the elections.
It’s pathetic to note that a candidate seeking to govern the state could be seen actively promoting anarchy and violence to disrupt the peace of the citizens.
It will be recalled that the suspect has been busy in the past days crying wolves in the media as he perfected his evil plans which manifested at his rally.
While we can imagine the untold misery and frustration that his faltering campaign might have visited on him, it ought not to result in the thirst for the blood of potential voters.
We hereby call on the law enforcement agencies to thoroughly investigate the incident , bring the culprits to book and beef security across the state with the obvious desperation of the opposition PDP in order to forestall a reoccurrence.
We urge Lagosians to remain calm and law abiding as the state government remains irrevocably committed to its onerous duty of ensuring the safety of lives and properties of all and sundry.
Hon. Seye Oladejo
Lagos State APC Spokesperson
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