The National Chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, has stated that the party remains strong and formidable amidst the ongoing crisis caused by the presidential primary.
Premium Politics reported that PDP has been hit with an internal crisis since the party’s flagbearer in the 2023 election, Atiku Abubakar, selected Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate over Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.
Ayu, who travelled for vacation on June 21, returned on Friday, dousing the rising tension in the party over his absence and that of the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku, who is said to be in France after his trips to the United States and Dubai.
Some party members had described Ayu and Atiku’s vacations abroad as ill-timed, saying their absence was hurting the party and deepening the internal crisis that erupted from the presidential primary. Some members had called for his resignation as the national chairman.
However, in a short interview with The PUNCH on Saturday evening, Ayu asked members of the party not to panic, saying the party remained strong and formidable.
He said, “I am back from my vacation and I will resume on Monday. There is nothing to worry about in our party. Our party remains strong and formidable.”
Meanwhile, some chieftains of the party, including a former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, have asked the ruling All progressives Congress to steer clear of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike. They described efforts by the APC to woo the governor as a waste of time, noting that the PDP would put its house in order.
Wike is said to be aggrieved by the outcome of the presidential primary, which he lost to Atiku and the fact that he lost the running mate slot to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.
Three governors on the platform of the APC, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State and Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, visited Wike in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Friday, in what appeared to be part of sustained efforts by the ruling party to woo the governor. A former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, who is aggrieved over the emergence of a northern presidential candidate was also at the meeting.
Few weeks ago, the Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, who dumped the PDP for the APC in 2020, also visited Wike and they held a closed-door meeting.
While Fayemi described the meeting as ‘Sallah visit’, a source at the meeting told Saturday PUNCH on Friday that their visit was to woo Wike to join the APC.