-Claims signature on suspension letter was forged
Senator Iyorchia Ayu, the former national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party who resigned from that office on Tuesday, will contest his suspension in front of the Benue State High Court in Makurdi on Monday.
Simon Imobo-tswam, Ayu’s Special Assistant on Communication, told our correspondent about this not long after the party declared that Umar Damagum Ayu, the Deputy National Chairman (North), had been named the acting national chairman.
He declared that Ayu would take the suspension decision to court.
The Igorov ward executive committee in the Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State had on Sunday suspended Ayu for alleged anti-party activities and for failing to pay his membership dues.
In the aftermath of the suspension, the Benue State court restrained Ayu from parading himself as the chairman of the party following a suit filed by a former aide to the state governor, Conrad Utaan.
Ayu and the PDP were listed as the first and second respondents, respectively.
The case has been adjourned till April 17 for a hearing.
But his Special Assistant on Communication, in response to a question from The PUNCH, confirmed his principal’s plan to challenge the court order legally.
When asked if his embattled principal would challenge the court order barring him from parading himself as the PDP national chairman, Imobo-tswam simply said “yes” without entertaining further questions.
He however added that the PDP “has said everything concerning the issue. So, there is no need to say more.”
Damagum, in a brief interview with journalists in Abuja, explained that he was taking over the party leadership in an acting capacity “to fulfil all righteousness.”
He said, “We are here to fulfil all righteousness. We have a court order restraining our national chairman and we are law-abiding. I will be here with you in an acting capacity pending the determination of the court.
‘’I want to use this opportunity to enjoin you to give me the cooperation we all used to have with you. I will have a meeting immediately after this session with the NWC (National Working Committee) to review what is happening in the party.”
In solidarity with Ayu, PDP stakeholders from his Igyorev ward protested at the party secretariat on Tuesday.
They expressed support for the suspended chairman and further passed a confidence vote in him.
Addressing journalists, a ward executive member, Stephen Shimahile, said “We categorically disclaim and disassociate ourselves from the purported letter of vote of no confidence and suspension of Senator Iyorchial Ayu as a member of PDP in Igyorov Council Ward of the Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State dated the 24th day of March 2023 circulating in the media
“The executive committee members have never discussed in any of our meetings prior to election or post-2023 general election about the conduct of the national chairman in line with chapter 10 section 57 of the party’s Constitution 2017 as amended.
“The executive committee members have stated clearly that they have no knowledge of the letter and have not authorised anybody whatsoever to generate such mischievous letter on behalf of the executive committee.’’
He claimed the signatures on the letter were forged, stressing that no member of the PDP executive committee of the Igyorov council ward signed it or caused it to be signed on his or her behalf.
“The names of the executive committee members are wrongly written and spelt which showed the desperation of the mischief-makers,” he stated.