The crisis between the Peoples Democratic Party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu and the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, deepened on Thursday with the governor taking a swipe at the PDP national chairman.
Wike, at the inauguration of Omerelu internal roads in the Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state, alleged that Ayu’s actions had clearly shown that he did not want the party to win the 2023 election.
The governor said that the national chairman wanted the party to lose, “we’ll help you, (Ayu).
Ayu, had in an interview BBC Hausa Service on Tuesday dismissed the clamour for his resignation by Wike and his loyalists, describing them as youngsters who lacked the knowledge about how the party was formed.
The governor and his loyalists at a meeting with the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in London last week, reportedly demanded Ayu’s resignation as one of the conditions that must be fulfilled to resolve the post-presidential primary crisis rocking the opposition party.
Atiku defeated Wike in the presidential primary of the party.
Although a panel set up by the party recommended Wike as the running mate, Atiku settled for Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State to the chagrin of the Rivers governor and his supporters.
Wike’s supporters argued that it was unfair for the party’s chairman and its presidential flag bearer to hail from the same region.
Speaking in the interview with BBC Hausa, Ayu said, “I didn’t commit any offence, I’m only reforming the party so I’m not bothered with all the noises. I know I’m doing my work and I didn’t steal any money so I see no reason for all these talks. When we started PDP, these children were not around. They are children who do not know why we formed the party. We will not allow any individual to destabilize our party.”
But on Thursday at the inauguration of Omerelu internal roads by a former South-West Deputy National Chairman of PDP, Chief Olabode George, Wike said the action and utterances of Ayu could jeopardise the party’s fortunes in the 2023 elections.
The governor explained that he expected Ayu, as party chairman, to unite all aggrieved members and galvanize them for the 2023 elections without division, so that PDP could win the poll.
Instead of showing appreciation to governors who supported him to emerge as the party chair, Wike said Ayu demonstrated ingratitude by describing them as children.
Wike said, “Dr Ayu said we are children. Yes, the children brought you to be chairman of the party. The children brought you from the gutter and made you chairman. Ayu, you were impeached as Senate president.
“Ayu was sacked by (ex-president Olusegun) Obasanjo in his administration two times. Arrogance cannot take you anywhere. Now, we have seen that you don’t want the party to win the election, we’ll help you.”
He dismissed the claim by Ayu that he was one of the founding fathers of the PDP, pointing out that he once abandoned the party, moved to another party and therefore cannot have equal stakes with those who stayed back to rebuild the PDP.
The governor explained that Ayu voluntarily promised to relinquish his chairmanship as a northerner if an aspirant from the north emerged as the presidential candidate of the PDP.
Wike asked Ayu to be a man of honour and keep his promise by relinquishing his position.
He pointed out that if the party chair carries on ‘’with his arrogance,’’ the PDP governors he described as children would prove to him that he is a prodigal father.
“A man who is inconsistent and ran away from the party, telling those of us who spent our time, sleepless nights to make sure this party does not go down, we are children.
“Now, you have the temerity, the audacity to tell us we are children.”
Wike further said Nigerians were watching the unfolding events, adding, ‘’Nigerians have seen how ungrateful some of you can be, and that’s why also Nigerians must be careful. If we give this man power, if we give these people power, are you sure they will also be grateful to Nigerians?’’
“As you make your bed, so you will lie on it. I’ve been quiet thinking that we will reconcile. Now that you have brought in arrogance to say you were elected, where did you campaign? Show me where your poster was anywhere in this state,’’ he challenged Ayu.