Amid calls for his resignation by forces loyal to the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Iyorcha Ayu, yesterday, insisted that the party’s leadership would not succumb to any intimidation, especially from some aggrieved members.
Ayu, who dared those he referred to as selfish leaders peddling lies to derail the party, said, “PDP is a moving train with a united force nobody can destabilise.”
He further said no individual leader can hijack the party, as PDP was built by leaders collectively, just as nobody can distract the party from achieving victory next year.
Ayu’s outburst against some top leaders of the party came after the note of caution issued by the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to members to cease fire and stop utterances that may further divide the party.
Ayu spoke, yesterday, in Kano State, when he led Atiku and other party chieftains to formally receive the senator representing Kano central and former governor of the state, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, back to PDP.
Although Ayu noted that conscious efforts to rebuild the party ahead of next year’s election were ongoing, especially with the rousing welcome of Shekarau back to the opposition party, he, however, stated that PDP can never be built on an individual just as no individual can claim supremacy over another.
The party chairman, who boasted about the strength of PDP to reclaim Kano and Lagos from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), stressed that Atiku is the only unifying candidate that can end the challenges of insecurity and economic woes Nigeria is presently battling.
He said: “We are not interested in any leader who thinks PDP is built around him. PDP can never be built on an individual and there is no individual who can claim supremacy over another in PDP. Let me remind those leaders peddling lies to destabilise us that we would never be intimidated.”
He described yesterday as his happiest since assuming office as PDP national chairman, noting that Kano was strategic and important to the opposition party.
He observed that PDP has its origin in Kano, saying the party actually began when the late Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi started mobilising the rest of them to resist the military dictatorship of that era.
Ayu explained that the entire leadership of the party was happy to be in the city of Malam Aminu Kano, even as he confessed that getting Ibrahim Shekarau to rejoin the PDP was not easy as there were equally other suitors.
He described Shekarau as a team player who is ready to work with other members to ensure victory for the party at the state and federal levels.
Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, challenged Nigerians to reject the plan of APC to remain in power beyond 2023, adding that the present security challenges and worsening state of the country’s economy are enough reasons to vote PDP.
He applauded the sacrifice of Shekarau to return to the party and appealed to Kano voters to support PDP in 2023 general elections. Also, Atiku commended Shekarau’s decision to return to PDP.
In his declaration speech, Shekarau explained that his decision to defect from the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) to PDP was as a result of injustice and betrayal of trust.
Shekarau used the occasion to announced that he has relinquished the senatorial ticket offered to him at NNPP and urged his supporters to work for the PDP to ensure that it emerged victorious at the 2023 general elections.
Expressing his determination to deliver Kano to PDP, he said: “Myself and thousands of my followers have defected to the PDP. I have formally written to the NNPP national chairman, chairmen at the state, councils and ward levels of the party that I have dumped the NNPP. I have equally written to INEC Chairman and to the Kano State Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC that I am no longer contesting the senatorial position on the platform of the NNPP,’’ he said.
He was consequently registered into the PDP by its Northwest vice-chairman, Senator Bello Hayatu-Gwarzo. Following a disagreement with the governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, over control of APC in the state, Shekarau joined NNPP in May 2022 with thousands of his supporters after defecting from APC, the platform which he won the senatorial seat.
The former governor was one of the politicians who formed APC in 2013. He was a member of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) when he was elected governor between 2003 and 2011. He, however, defected to the PDP in 2014.
Among PDP chieftains that joined Atiku to receive Shekarau in Kano include Atiku’s running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa; former vice president, Namadi Sambo; Governor Darius Ishiaku of Taraba State and members of the party’s Board of Trustees, led by Walid Jibril.
Other dignitaries are former governors of Jigawa, Sokoto, Katsina, Kaduna, and Adamawa, Sule Lamido, Saminu Turaki, Attahiru Bafarawa, Shehu Shema, Ahmad Makarfi, and Boni Haruna, respectively; former deputy governor of Zamfara State, Mahdi Aliyu, former Minister of Transport, Idris Umar; Ahmad Babba-Kaita, Senator for Katsina North District, and former lawmakers, Dino Melaye and Shehu Sani.
Meanwhile, commenting on the cracks within the party, Wike said nothing has happened yet, “but something will happen soon.”
According to the PDP ex-presidential aspirant, nobody can threaten him as he will do what is right no matter the gang up or blackmail. He spoke during the flag-off of Eneka internal roads in the Obio-Akpor area of the state.
Wike said: “Anybody who knows me knows that once I have made up my mind and I believe that what I am doing is right, if you like, let the whole people team up, as far as my conscience is clear, I will do what is right at all times; it doesn’t matter any gang up.
“All of us should be calm; you’ve heard what is happening in PDP. Nothing has happened yet but by the grace of God; something will happen soon.
“If you like, go and buy newspaper owners, put any story you want on front pages, I don’t even bother about it. Put stories to demonise me, it’s your business. I am not worried but you are worried. I will do the right thing. I have not done anything, people are crying. What happens when we do something, what will happen?
“Each time I carry the newspaper, they say ‘Wike, did this, he did that’. I laugh. Make them uncomfortable. Make them have sleepless nights. At the appropriate time, what needs to be done will be done. Nobody will threaten me.”