As efforts to install a successor of the removed national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Iyorchia Ayu, gather momentum, some former governors within the party are pushing for one of them to take up the mantle of leadership of the party.
It was gathered that the ex-governors met with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in Abuja yesterday.
The meeting was held at the residence of a chieftain of the PDP, Chief Tom Ikimi, in Maitama, Abuja.
The former governors who attended the meeting were Babangida Aliyu (Niger State), Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Sokoto) and Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano).
Also at the meeting with the presidential candidate of the party for the 2023 general elections were seven serving governors of the party.
They were Ahmadu Fintiri of Atiku’s home state of Adamawa, Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Sheriff Oborevwori (Delta), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Ademola Adeleke (Osun), Caleb Mutfwang (Plateau) and Lawal Dauda (Zamfara).
Also present at the close-door meeting, which lasted for over two hours, were the suspended chairman of the party, Ayu and Atiku’s running mate in the last presidential election, Ifeanyi Okowa, who is the immediate past governor of Delta State.
The meeting was called to discuss how to make one of ex-governors succeed Ayu.
Ayu was suspended by his ward in Benue State for alleged anti-party activities, non-payment of dues and other sundry offences. Efforts by the Benue-born politician and his supporters to regain his seat have not been successful.
A source also told Daily Trust on Sunday that the meeting was made up of mainly loyalists of the former vice president, adding, “That is why none of the National Working Committee (NWC) member was invited.
“They want to put one of their own as the national chairman of the party. They don’t want a situation where someone like the former Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike and his loyalists will take over the party.
“He (Wike) wants to be a minister and also controls the PDP, if that happens, the party is finished,” the source said.
Efforts to get the reaction of the national publicity secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, were not successful as he neither answered phone calls nor replied a WhatsApp message sent to him by our reporter.
It would be recalled that in March this year, the executive committee of Igyorov ward in Benue State suspended Ayu as a member of the party for alleged anti party activities.
Following a suit instituted by a member of the party in Benue, Terhide Utaan, Justice W. I Kpochi of the Benue State High Court had in March issued an interim injunction restraining Ayu from parading himself as the national chairman of the party.
Before the February 25 presidential election, the G5-governors led by a former Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike had asked Ayu to resign his position as national chairman following Atiku’s emergence as the PDP’s presidential candidate.
The party later appointed its deputy national chairman (North), Umar Damagun, as its acting chairman.
The G5-governors had argued that the North could not hold produce the party’s national chairman and the president candidate.
The G5-governors were Wike, Okezie Ikpeazu, (Abia) Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Samuel Ortom (Benue).