PDP Chair: North Central Demands Slot To Complete Ayu’s Tenure

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AYU

PDP Chair: North Central Demands Slot To Complete Ayu’s Tenure

 

The North Central Caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has started consultations among party leaders to produce a National Chairman from the zone to complete the truncated tenure of Dr. Iyiorchia Ayu.

This was sequel to the announcement of dates for the party’s National Caucus/ National Executive Committee meetings scheduled to hold on April 17th and 18th, 2024.

It was gathered in Abuja, on Monday, that consultations among party leaders from the Zone has reached an advanced stage.

A usually reliable party source said, “We expect the zone to announce their choice before our NEC.”

Some of the names being considered include: former Senate President, Bukola Saraki from Kwara State and Senator Gabriel Suswam from Ayu’s native Benue State.

It was also learnt that party leaders from the zone met in Abuja last week to fine tune strategies to present a common front to avoid acrimony.

Those at the crucial meeting included party executives from across the six states including the Federal Capital Territory that make up the North Central Zone, as well as selected elected representatives.

As a fallout of the meeting, it was reliably gathered that those in attendance agreed that the North Central should serve out what is left of Ayu’s term while Damagum whom most of them agreed, “has done well in acting capacity,” should revert to his original position as Deputy National Chairman.

A source at the meeting explained that Plateau State governor, Caleb Muftwang, is expected to convene a meeting of the Zonal Caucus to put final touches to the strategy on how this can be achieved.

The source said, “With the litigations over the 2023 elections now over, we expect the party leadership to do the needful to reposition our party for better performance.

“Ayu’s time as Chairman has effectively ended and we in the North Central,  have put our heads together and agreed that his replacement should come from among us because the position which was zoned to us in 2023 still subsists. The constitution of our great party makes it so.

“We have been holding meetings on this issue. If you will recall, our State Chairmen met here in Abuja, after a meeting with the NWC last Wednesday.”

“When asked about names being considered for the job, the source said, “We are still consulting but I assure you they are people whose names and pedigree are known nationwide.

“Sooner than later His Excellency, the Plateau State Governor, Caleb Muftwang will convene a meeting where final decisions will be taken.

“As party members, we are grateful to Amb. Damagum and his team in the NWC for the good work they’ve so far done. We are asking that our zoning arrangement as contained in our constitution be respected so that Ayu’s replacement should come from his zone.”

The PDP chairmanship position was zoned to the North Central ahead of the 2023 general election and Ayu emerged unopposed.

Ayu was chosen to replace Prince Uche Secondus who was shoved aside in a power play orchestrated by his erstwhile political benefactor, Nyesom Wike.

Ayu suffered a similar fate when he fell out with the Wike-led Group of five PDP Governors popularly called G-5 as a direct fallout of the party’s presidential primary election which former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar won.

Following a series of litigations which dogged Ayu’s final days in office, the Deputy National Chairman (North), Amb. Illiya Damagum, who hails from Yobe State in the North East, was elevated to act as National Chairman.

He has been acting in that capacity since March, 28, 2023.

There have been renewed pressure on the Damagum-led National Working Committee (NWC) to convene a NEC meeting to, among other things: “receive the nomination from the North Central and approve a substantive National Chairman from the zone.”

However, a party insider who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media on the issue said, “There has been no pressure per se. We just didn’t want to be distracted at a time the election of some of our governors were still being challenged in court.

“Now that all the issues have been settled, it is just the right time to do some house cleaning to reposition the party ahead of 2027.

“We are coming back stronger and better to give Nigerians the true alternative platform they desire.” 

A senior aide to former senate President Bukola Saraki, however, said that there have been suggestions to that effect since last year but that it is unlikely it would fly.