Barring any last-minute change of mind, the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party will this week meet to deliberate on the crisis rocking the party.
This is part of a larger plan to rescue the campaign of the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, following the boycott of its campaign by some aggrieved governors of the party.
The PUNCH learnt the advisory body is worried by the growing feud between the party and loyalists of the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and may ask the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu to resign.
Although details of the meeting and date were sketchy as of the time of filing this report, the immediate past BoT chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin, disclosed to The PUNCH on Monday that members of the board were truly disturbed as the crisis showed no sign of abating.
He said, “There is a (BoT) meeting this week but I don’t know the date yet. What we are interested in is that we must speak with one voice and stay with the party’s plans and objectives to enable us to win the elections in 2023. We must encourage our members to rally other Nigerians to come out and vote for Atiku Abubakar and Ifeanyi Okowa.”
Against the backdrop of calls for Ayu to resign, the BoT is expected to take a categorical stand on the matter, including possible demand for Ayu’s removal in the interest of the party.
Speaking exclusively to The PUNCH, Jibrin enjoined party organs to remain united even as he took a swipe at the National Working Committee over what he called the “division” in its fold.
“We must not allow division like we are now witnessing in the NWC. All other organs must understand that the party constitution is supreme,” he said, warning that “Once the NWC members accommodate loopholes in the administration of the party, the PDP is finished.”
Jibrin’s diplomatic stance, however, contrasts with his fellow BoT member and former Minister in the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
The ex-minister who does not want his name in print so “as not to preempt the outcome of the meeting” said, “We will look at the bigger picture and that picture is what is good for the party. We can’t be going into a major election with our house in disarray. Whatever sacrifice is needed for us to move forward, we will do it but I can’t be categorical so as not to preempt the outcome of the meeting.
“We must not be afraid to speak the truth. We must speak truth to power, though not everybody will like it. Whatever will affect our chances of winning the elections must give way.”
Speaking in the same vein, a former principal officer in the National Assembly wants the BoT to be guided in its deliberations by “those things that matter including justice, fair play and equity.”
Pleading for his name not to be mentioned, he stressed, “Treat the South as equal partners in this project. Interpret or process this and draw your conclusion on whether I want Ayu to go or remain in office.
“I have just an issue to emphasise here. If the chairman is quoted as making a promise that if a northerner emerged as the party’s presidential candidate that he will quit, what are we still talking about here?”
Although Ayu enjoys the support of over two-thirds of the members of the NWC as of now, there are chances things may change in the weeks ahead as five of the governors elected on its platform have vowed not to have anything to do with the Presidential Campaign Council unless Ayu is removed from office.
The governors; Nyesom Wike, Okezie Ikpeazu, Seyi Makinde, Samuel Ortom and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Rivers, Abia, Oyo, Benue and Enugu states have since turned their backs on Atiku, insisting on the resignation of Ayu and his replacement with a southerner.