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Call for Ayu’s Removal Divides PDP NEC

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Ahead of the meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party National Executive Committee scheduled for Thursday in Abuja, the NEC members are divided over the clamour for the removal of the National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu.

While some NEC members from the South argued that Ayu’s removal was the only way out of the lingering crisis confronting the party, the chairman’s supporters said Ayu would not step aside at this critical time when the PDP was preparing for election.

The opposition party had been engulfed in a crisis since a former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar emerged the presidential candidate.

The loyalists of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike had been demanding Ayu’s resignation, stating that the presidential candidate should not hail from the same region as the party chairman; and the Board of Trustees chairman.

Though the PDP set up a panel to resolve the crisis, Wike, supported by three other governors, had continued to insist on Ayu’s removal.

Resisting the pressure to leave office, the party chair vowed to stay till the end of his four-year tenure. He also dismissed those demanding his removal as youngsters who had little knowledge about the formation of the PDP.

Reinforcing their demand in an interview with The PUNCH on Tuesday, the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Oyo State, Mr Akeem Olatunji, stressed that Ayu’s removal would facilitate Atiku’s electoral victory.

While explaining that the state chapter of the party had nothing against Atiku and Ayu, Olatunji said their demand was borne out of their desire to see the party emerge victorious at the poll.

He said, “We are passionate about Alhaji Abubakar Atiku winning this presidential election and that is why we are calling for Senator Iyorchia Ayu to step aside and allow somebody from the South to take over.

“We don’t want Alhaji Atiku to just be a presidential candidate, we want him to transform from a candidate to the President-elect of this country by February 2023.

“We believe that part of what can make our job easier is for the national chairmanship of the PDP to come from the South. We don’t want our opponents to use that to campaign against us.

“It’s not that we have anything against Atiku or Senator Ayu, we are not their enemies; we want the party to win. It is better we sort this out now and that is what we are saying. We want the national chairmanship of the PDP to come to the South for balance.”

On his part, the Rivers State PDP Chairman, Ambassador Desmond Akawor called for the resignation of the national chairman, stressing that the party leadership and the presidential candidate cannot come from the same region.

He said, ‘’That is the commitment he (Ayu) made before we elected the presidential candidate, so he has to fulfill his commitment. He must resign; he should fulfill his commitment. We can’t have the BoT chairman from the north, deputy national chairman and presidential candidate all from the north. Other regions will feel relegated.

“How do we campaign for the people? The election is based on interest, how do we preach to them? Should we tell them when the presidential candidate wins things will normalize? Is that what we are going to preach to the people?’’

Akawor further stated that the power blocs were only seeking equity, justice and fair play, therefore, their quest should be regarded.

He noted, ‘’We don’t have different power blocs; they are people who are requesting equity and fairness, which is the fulcrum of the party.  How are we protected as a zone; how is our interest protected? That is what we are asking for?  So, when these questions are answered, I don’t think we’ll  have a power bloc; PDP is one party.’’

But the Osun PDP acting chairman, Dr Akindele Adekunle, said Ayu should not be made to resign, at least not now that the party was preparing for a general election.

Adekunle said, “There is no point asking Dr Ayu to resign a few months before the presidential election.  My take is to allow the status quo to remain and make changes after the 2023 elections.”

The Ebonyi State Chairman of the PDP, Okoroafor Okorie was of the view that the right thing was ‘’for somebody to make a sacrifice by stepping down from his position which provides a balance in the leadership of the party.’’

He noted, “The truth is nobody was born with any position. It is easier to say let’s balance the polity allowing the chairmanship to come from somewhere. If that is the sacrifice that someone has to make in the overall interest of the party, it is a sacrifice worth making.

“For me, PDP is the only party that has a structure with a national outlook; forget that APC is occupying the presidency today. If you do not want to bury that national outlook, perception, or narrative and change the paradigm that the PDP is always making, I think it is a sacrifice worth making that somebody should step down.’’

However, the Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, speaking through his Director of Press, Nathaniel Nkurr, noted that the crisis was best resolved at a roundtable in addition to placating the Rivers State governor.

“The position of the governor is that the party leadership will sit down and resolve the crisis in the party, calling for the pacification of the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike,’’ he explained, adding that “all the blocs must agree to work together as a party; the leadership should sit down and resolve the crisis.’’

Chairman of the Lagos State PDP, Julius Akinsola maintained that an inclusive approach was needed to address the issues.

“We are in a democratic system; I think it has to be an inclusive decision so the national working committee, the NEC, the BoT, the three arms of the party have to resolve that kind of situation.

“I presumed they will take into consideration all the necessary parameters for choosing offices. If they find some imbalance; that is why they are there. But as individuals, we have to work within a democratic system,’’ Akinsola stated.

Reacting to the calls for a change of the party leadership, the Yobe State Chairman of the PDP, Sen. El-Gash Umar, insisted that the chairman cannot step down because he was elected for a four-year tenure.

He counseled those clamouring for Ayu’s removal to wait until the presidential candidate of the party wins, adding that he may step down then through persuasions.

Umar added, “He was elected for a four-year tenure, he has not committed any crime as a party chairman, and he was not indicted for anti-party (activity) or anything. He was being asked to resign because the presidential candidate is from the north. What if he (Atiku) doesn’t win; will the chairman be reinstated? That is what we are saying.’’

The Punch

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Adeleke Loses As Tribunal Declares Oyetola Winner of Osun Guber Election

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The Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Osogbo has sacked Governor Ademola Adeleke as the duly elected governor of the state.

The tribunal in a split document of two to one declared that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, should withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Adeleke and issue the same to former Governor Adegboyega Oyetola

The majority judgement which was read by the Chairman, Justice Tertse Kume said Oyetola scored the majority lawful votes of 314,931 against Adeleke’s 219,666

Radio Radio Ibadan

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Katsina Youths Boo, Stone Buhari’s Officials During Visit in Protest to Hardship

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President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday, commenced a two-day official visit to his home state of Katsina where he inaugurated some projects executed by the state government.

However, his first day in the state was marked by a protest by youths decrying the hardship in the country.

The youth staged the protest a few minutes after noon, shortly after the President inaugurated the Kofar Kaura Underpass in Katsina.

The protesters caused a commotion at the Kofar Kaura Underpass where they threw stones at the crowd after Buhari left the area.

The boys also set up bonfires along the Yahaya Madaki Way, a few metres from the underpass, while shouting: ‘We don’t need you,’ ‘We no go do,’ in Hausa.

A viral video showed a mass of youths violently denouncing the government as they engaged some policemen on the road.

The development is coming 72 hours after the Presidential standard bearer of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, was stoned by suspected hoodlums at a campaign rally in Katsina.

The thugs reportedly threw stones outside the campaign venue, damaging several vehicles.

“Our candidate had met with women in a town hall and then held a hugely successful rally at the Muhammad Dikko Stadium. However, on his way to the airport, hoodlums attacked the car our candidate was riding in with heavy stones from his driver’s side causing substantial damage to the vehicle,’’ the Head of Media, Obi/Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Diran Onifade, disclosed in a statement.

Buhari had finished the ceremony and left when the youth stormed the underpass and started shouting, ‘Bamuyi,’ ‘Bamuyi’ (We are not interested.)

They also threw stones at the convoy of state government officials departing the project site.

They were subsequently dispersed with tear gas by security personnel.

One of the youth said they were protesting the hardship in the country, adding that they wanted to draw the President’s attention to the situation.

One of the protestants declared,  “ We are suffering; no job; no life…no money…”

But the spokesman for the Katsina police command, Gambo  Isah, said there was no protest.

He noted, ‘’The President was neither booed nor his convoy stoned. I was part of the convoy. The President successfully inaugurated the project. We were at another inauguration when we learnt that hooligans known as kaoraye were fighting one another at Sabwa ungwa area and we went there. We arrested no fewer than 10 of them and an investigation is already going on.”

The Special Adviser to the governor on Security Matters, Ahmad Katsina,  did not respond to inquiries on the youth’s actions.

The Punch

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Festival of Joy Promo: Ibadan Hosts Another Draw

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Globacom, on Thursday, held a draw in Ibadan, Oyo State capital to pick the winner of another 3-Bedroom apartment in the ongoing Glo Festival of Joy promo.

The event was held at Gloworld, Challenge, in the presence of several Glo subscribers who were in the shop to transact business.

Commenting about the exercise, a walk-in customer, Mr. Matthew Aina, who drew the winning number, commended Globacom on transparency of the draw, while Mrs. Taibat Azeez, who also witnessed the emergence of another house winner, said the exercise was fair enough.

The three-bedroom apartment will be presented to the winner, who was informed by Glo officials after the draw at a presentation ceremony scheduled for Friday, January 27, 2023.

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