Ex-President of the Senate, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu has emerged as consensus candidate for the National Chairmanship of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).The Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi Zoning Committee had zoned the position to the North ahead of the opposition party’s convention on October 30-31. Ayu, ex-Minister of Internal Affairs from Benue State, was chosen on Thursday after a second meeting of a northern caucus at Bauchi State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja. The three Northern zones presented a candidate each for screening for a consensus candidate. Ayu was chosen as North Central’s candidate while former Katisna State governor Ibrahim Shema and PDP Deputy National Chairman (North) Senator Suleiman NaIf emerged from North-West and North-East, respectively. Adamawa State Governor Ahmadu Finitiri, who briefed journalists at the end of the meeting, said other candidates agreed to step down for Ayu. He said: “There is no vanquish (and) there is no victor in this meeting; we all came out united. “Out of the three Northern candidates the three zones produced, the candidates themselves in the spirit of unity and togetherness, in the spirit of ensuring that the PDP emerges and benefits from our efforts, so that we can win together for a Nigerians the 2023 general elections, Senator Iyorchia Ayu has emerged as a consensus candidate for the North.
All of them are immensely qualified but through discussions and reconciliation we have emerged with consensus list that was endorsed by the candidates themselves. There was no election and there was no selection.” Ayu will be presented to the Southern caucus who also met in Benin on Thursday. The Southern caucus meeting is expected to come up with National Secretary candidate and other offices zoned to them. Finitiri, who is Chairman of the 20-man Northern Screening Committee, said the zone will reach out to their colleagues from the South for support at the convention.
The insider source disclosed that it was not easy arriving at Ayu as consensus candidate. A source at the meeting said he was made to sign an undertaken that his emergence will not preclude anybody from any of the three zones from contesting the 2023 presidency. Part of the agreement is that if the emergence of a presidential candidate tilts the scale in favour of any zone in the North, he will resign and work for the candidate. Ayu in his acceptance speech promised to take the PDP back to its winning ways, adding that after the convention they will work to “rebuild the party to take over power to rebuild the country”. The ex-minister added: “We intend to work together with all the leaders, not only in the North but across the country to reposition this country for the next generation of Nigerians.”
He promised to run an all-inclusive administration as he decried the situation in the country. Ayu said: “We shall work as team. And I believe with the support of Nigerians who have suffered at the hands of a party that does not exist, a party that does not care for the youths, a party that doesn’t care for anybody but themselves, victory we shall achieve and administer to this country to the greater glory of God. “Today, our currency is the weakest in the world. Even the Somalis are better than us in Africa.”