In a dramatic move, the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has reversed the recent suspension of former Katsina State governor, Ibrahim Shema, his Ekiti State counterpart, Ayodele Fayose, and former secretary to government of the federation, Senator Pius Anyim, from the party for anti-party activities.
The party under the leadership of acting national chairman, Umar Damagum, also reversed the order mandating Governor Samuel Ortom to appear before the party’s disciplinary committee over his alleged involvement in anti-party activities.
This was the outcome of a National Working Committee (NWC) meeting yesterday in Abuja which reviewed the recent decisions taken under the national chairmanship of Dr Iyorchia Ayu, who was recently sacked from office by a court in Benue, following the suspension of his membership of the party by the executives of his ward in Benue State.
LEADERSHIP Friday recalls that the party chieftains had been suspended by the PDP under the national chairmanship of Dr Iyorchia Ayu last week. Days after, Ayu was himself suspended by his party at the ward level following which an order from a court in Benue State barred him from parading himself as national chairman.
Consequently, the deputy national chairman of the party (North), Umar Damagum, statutorily emerged as acting chairman, under whose leadership the suspensions were reversed. Ayu had vowed to challenge the court order.
Rivers State governor, the arrow head of those opposed to Ayu’s continued leadership of the party, had at a public event in Rivers State insisted that the suspension of Ayose would not stand, and that Governor Ortom would not appear before the PDP disciplinary committee.
He also boasted that the battle for the soul of the party had begun and that Ayu would not return as party chairman.
Meanwhile, it was learnt that shortly after Damagum emerged as acting chairman, he began moves to douse tensions within the party by reaching out to the G-5 governors, through one of the party’s governors from the North East zone.
A party source told LEADERSHIP Friday that Damagum also reached out to the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to brief him on the next line of action.
Damagum, it was gathered, appealed to the G-5 governors that he would not want to preside over a divided house.
“He intends to set up a reconciliation committee to douse the tensions within the party. He expects that the governor from the North East would lead the reconciliation process ahead of the broader party meetings, including governors, Caucus and Board of Trustees (BoT) and possibly National Executive Committee meetings in the coming weeks,” a source said.
Another source, however, told LEADERSHIP Friday that the G-5 governors and their allies were mulling a caretaker committee arrangement as part of means to consolidate their hold of the party following the exit of Ayu.
The source said, “Pending a change of plans, the G-5 governors and their allies are tinkering with installing a caretaker committee to preside over affairs of the party.”
The source, who admitted that the process was still being worked at, however, noted that the aim is to ensure that they retain control of the party as most of them leave the scene.
However, the national publicity secretary, Hon Debo Ologunagba, in a statement yesterday, after a meeting of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) in Abuja said the party is ready to pursue reconciliation among its members
He said, “The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at its meeting today (yesterday) extensively discussed recent developments in the party.
“The NWC recognised the imperativeness of a total reconciliation among party leaders and critical stakeholders for a more cohesive party in the overall interest of our teeming members and Nigerians in general.
“Consequent upon the above, the NWC reverses the referral of the governor of Benue State, His Excellency, Dr. Samuel Ortom, to the National Disciplinary Committee.
“The NWC in the same vein reverses the suspension of the following underlisted members of our great party: H.E. Ibrahim Shema (Katsina State), Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti State), Sen. Pius Anyim (Ebonyi State), Prof. Dennis Ityavyar (Benue State), Dr. Aslam Aliyu (Zamfara State).
“This decision is without prejudice to the powers of the NWC to take necessary disciplinary action against any member of the party at any time pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017).”
The NWC further urged leaders, critical stakeholders and members of the party across the country to be guided by the provisions of the PDP Constitution as well as the new spirit and necessity of reconciliation, unity and harmony in the party at this critical time as it pursues its case at the election tribunal.
“The PDP must remain focused as we continue to take every necessary action to recover the stolen mandate freely given by Nigerians to our party and presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Saturday February 25, 2023, at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal,” the statement added.
The PDP had been embroiled in an internal crisis since the party’s presidential primary election in which former Vice President Atiku Abubakar defeated Governor Nyesom Wike and other contestants. Subsequently, Wike and his supporters insisted that Dr Ayu should step down to pave the way for the emergence of a party chairman from the south to maintain a balance of power since both Atiku and Ayu were from the North, a demand that was ignored. Following this the G-5 governors and some others refused to support Atiku in the presidential election.
My Suspension Reversal, Confirmation of Ayu’s Misrule In PDP, Says Fayose
A former governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayo Fayose, has described the reversal of his suspension from the PDP as a further confirmation of the misrule of Dr. Iyorchia Ayu at the party.
Fayose, who spoke to LEADERSHIP Friday through his media aide, Mr Lere Olayinka, said the development was an indication that Ayu didn’t function well as leader of the PDP in Nigeria.
He said, “It is the confirmation of the misnormal and misrule that reigned in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under the leadership of Dr Iyorchia Ayu; that the party was not administered rightly while he was in the saddle.
“If Ayu was made to leave the party less than 48 hours and the person who was his former deputy was now in charge and the decision taken when he was the party national chairman and this is the first meeting of the party exco after Ayu left office as chairman and the first thing they will do is to reverse major decisions taken under him is a further indictment on Ayu .
“It is further confirmation that Ayu didn’t function well as PDP national chairman. Going forward, we will keep our fingers crossed and watch how the new leadership of the party will go about its operations thereafter, and we will watch the body language and see what it means for the party.”
Benue PDP Suspends Igyorov Ward Executives
Meanwhile, following the lingering crisis in the PDP at Igyorov Council ward of Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State, the State Working Committee (SWC) of the party has suspended the Igyorov Ward Executives for the period of one month.
The suspension of the Igyorov ward executives comes a few days after they suspended the national chairman of the party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, who is from the council ward for anti-party activities.
A statement signed by the PDP state acting chairman, Isaac Mffo, alongside 12 members, said the suspension was to enable the SWC take the necessary action to restore sanity, harmony, law and order in the party in that area.
Mffo said: “The State Working Committee of the PDP, Benue State, on Thursday 30th day of March, 2023, held an Extra Ordinary Meeting to resolve the lingering crisis in Igyorov Council Ward and, after deliberations, reviewed the recent activities and matters of administration of the affairs of the party in that ward which have raised and aggravated tensions within the party with possible threats of violence and breakdown of law and order and resolved to suspend the Igyorov ward executives
He said, “The resolution of the SWC pursuant to the powers conferred on it by Section 59 (4) of the Constitution of PDP, as amended in 2017.”
Mffo explained that the State Working Committee shall during this period administer the affairs of the party in Igyorov Council Ward in the best interest of the party, discipline, growth and success.
The SWC directed the executive committee members of the PDP in Igyorov Council Ward to hand over all documents or other items in their possession belonging to the party to the State Executive Committee of the party with immediate effect.
While explaining that the action was taken to forestall possible breakdown of law and order in PDP in Igyorov Council Ward, the SWC said, henceforth, the PDP Igyorov Council ward executives shall cease to act in the offices which they held prior to their suspension.