National convention

Resign now, Clark tells PDP chairman Ayu

Former statesman and Niger Delta leader Chief Edwin Clark has called on Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman Iyorchia Ayu to resign now, saying he is no longer fit to lead the opposition party.

In a statement personally signed by the octogenarian and made available to Online forumOn Tuesday, the former information minister said he was saddened by the outcome of the party’s Special National Convention last Saturday which made Atiku Abubakar its presidential candidate for the 2023 general election.

He expressed his deep dissatisfaction with the underhand events that unfolded before, during and after the primary, describing the sudden removal of Sokoto State Governor Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal as “scandalous and Machiavellian”.

The Ijaw leader further expressed doubts about delegates’ “outrageous financial inducements and cynical dollarization of the electoral process”, warning that this development could spell the end of the 2023 general election.

In the statement, titled, “Resign Now: You are no longer fit to remain as PDP National Chairman, Clark tells Iyorchia Ayu,” the former senator said:

“I have decided to issue this press release because of the disturbing events in our policy vis-à-vis the Spotted Party primaries taking place across the country; the outrageous financial incentives reported to delegates and the cynical dollarization of the electoral process. These events give serious warnings about, more likely, the deleterious results of the general elections of 2023, mainly the presidential one, and their consequences.

“Most disturbing is what happened at the Special National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Abuja on Saturday 28th May 2022. I followed the live broadcasts of the proceedings carefully until about 12 30 p.m. on Sunday, the 29th. I was very impressed with the efforts of the Convention Committee, which was headed by former Senate President Senator David Mark and his aides, in particular the Governor of the State of Bayelsa, Senator Douye Diri. But, unfortunately, the result of the election leaves much to be desired; it was very unfair and rather unhealthy. This will certainly have serious and harmful consequences for the future unity of the country.

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“I was alarmed by the outrageous and Machiavellian manner in which Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, Governor of Sokoto State, was apparently ‘arranged’ to announce his withdrawal from the contest, at the last minute; his speech changed the mood of the event. This was done in order to impose another northerner as the standard bearer of the Party; considering that Governor Aminu Tambuwal was the only contender in the entire North West, which had around 192 delegates to the convention.

“What Tambuwal did was not only dishonorable but also a grave electoral anomaly and a tragic betrayal of national patriotism for hidden interests.

“Another aspirant from the North, Mr. Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, a businessman from Borno State, had earlier, also suddenly, withdrawn from the contest, citing his obscene monetization as the reason; but now we know better. It is now widely believed that Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed and former Senate Speaker Senator Bukola Saraki were pressured to step down as well, while Tambuwal deliberately delayed his action until the last minute. In doing so, improperly swept his North West votes in favor of Atiku Abubakar.

“We can now appreciate the reasons given by Mr. Peter Obi for his withdrawal from the PDP, both as an MP and as an aspirant, a few days before the party’s primary. And I think what he did was, without a doubt, in respect, or obedience, to the position of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum. Unfortunately, some Southern aspirants believed that with the resources and facilities at their disposal, their Elders no longer mattered, and with impunity ignored patriotic advice on the need to be unwavering on the zoning position of the Presidency for the south. They never cared that what we advocated was in their interest. They were selfish and arrogant and thought they could win on their own. They missed; I can only hope that they have now learned their lessons.

“Even worse, in the extreme, was the action of the National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Iyorchia Ayu, during his public visit to Governor Tambuwal to congratulate and greet him, in his own words, as “the hero of the Convention. This clearly reveals his bias and predilection in the processes leading to the disconcerting conclusion of the PDP presidential primary. His unworthy and parochial conduct, to please his directors in the north, is not only a great disgrace to the position he holds, but also a sad display of obscene submission to the political subjugation of an ethnic group, in a country as diverse as Nigeria.

“We had previously suspected that he was in favor of a northern candidate, when on the day of his inauguration as national president last year he unnecessarily declared during his speech that he would resign if a northerner was running as a candidate for the presidency of the party.

“Senator Ayu failed to realize that what we are fighting for affects all minorities in Nigeria. Southern Nigeria’s relationship with the Middle Belt is well established, dating back to the First Republic, in the days of Dr JS Tarka, of present-day Benue State, a founding member of the former United Middle Belt Congress, and the strong alliance with the leader Obafemi Action Group Awolowo.The relationship continued through the Second Republic when minorities in the South and North minorities combined to fight for a common course; the inclusion and full participation of all minorities in the politics and governance of the country, of which I was the leader.

“The appalling, reckless and unpatriotic public conduct of Senator Iyorchia Ayu has serious negative consequences. He should therefore no longer consider himself fit and suitable to retain his position as National President of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and should resign now.

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