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Atiku Calls The Bluff Of Wike’s Camp, Says I Can’t Force Ayu To Resign

As the crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) heightened with the the decision of the camp of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, to pull out of the Presidential Campaign Council, the party’s Presidential candidate and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, says he has no authority to force Senator Iyioricha Ayu to resign as the National Chairman.

Declaring his inability and that of the party to meet the key minimal demands of the dissenting camp, Atiku said in a statement he personally signed that “we must forge on with the task and the mandate that we have been bestowed with. It is time, therefore, to move on with the formidable tasks of nation building ahead of us.”

Rising from a meeting in Port Harcourt on Wednesday morning, Wike’s loyalists vowed not to partake in Atiku’s campaign activities until Ayu resigns.

Chief Olabode George, who walked out of the meeting where Jibrin’s resignation was announced, read the communique on behalf of the group.

Among those who attended the meeting which held at Wike’s Port Harcourt residence were former Governors Olusegun Mimiko, Ibrahim Dankwambo, Jonah Jang, Ayo Fayose and Donald Duke.

Also there were former Justice Minister, Mohammed Adoke; Prof Jerry Gana, former Information Minister; South-South Chairman of the PDP, Dan Orbih; and former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chibudom Nwuche.

Many of those who attended the meeting are members of the over 300-man campaign team of the opposition party’s presidential candidate.

On Monday, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State called on the national leadership of the PDP to address the grievances of  Wike, saying dismissing him would portend danger for the party in the 2023 general elections.

But Atiku, who foreclosed any further move to meet the demands of the Wike camp, said in the statement: “Early this morning, my attention was drawn to a news clip in which several very senior and influential members of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), 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, Senator 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. 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 every thing 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.

“Now, our nation is currently in the throes of a multidimensional crisis encompassing insecurity, economic meltdown, disunity and mutual mistrust and educational dislocations, to mention a few. 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 a 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. Accordingly, we must forge on with the task and the mandate that we have been bestowed with. It is time, therefore, to move on with the formidable tasks of nation building ahead of us. May God guide us all, and may God soothe our great party, and our dear country.”

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