Former vice president and the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, on Wednesday reinstated his position that Senator Iyioricha Ayu cannot be forced to resign as the party’s National Chairman.
Atiku said this in reaction to the decision of the camp of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State to pull out of his campaign council.
The statement read, “Early this morning, my attention was drawn to a news clip in which several very senior and influential members of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), addressed the press and, amongst other things, declared that they are withdrawing, forthwith, from the Presidential Campaign Council set up by our party to judiciously plan and prosecute the general elections set to hold in February and March 2023, on the one hand; and reiterated their earlier calls for the resignation or removal from office of the national chairman of our party, Senator Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, on the other hand.
“The people that addressed the press must have their reasons for withdrawing from the Presidential Campaign Council, and I will not speculate as to what those reasons may be.
“Personally, I am quite surprised with this withdrawal because, as I have been informed by officials of our party, apart from the Rivers State chapter of the PDP, all the remaining states of the federation submitted names of people who they wanted included in the Presidential Campaign Council.
“On the calls for the resignation or removal from office of our national chairman, however, I must reiterate what I have said severally in public and in private; the decision for Dr. Iyorchia Ayu to resign from office is personal to Dr. Ayu and, neither I nor anyone else can make that decision for him. As to the calls for the removal of Dr. Ayu from office, however, I will state that, as a committed democrat and firm believer in the rule of law and democratic tenets, and our party being one set up, organized and regulated by law and our constitution, it is my absolute belief that every thing that we do in our party must be done in accordance with, and conformity to, the law and our constitution. If Dr. Ayu is to be removed from office, it must be done in accordance with the laws that set out the basis for such removal. In any event, you will all recall that the very body that is empowered by law to initiate this removal from office, has already passed a vote of confidence in him.
“Now, our nation is currently in the throes of a multidimensional crisis encompassing insecurity, economic meltdown, disunity and mutual mistrust and educational dislocations, to mention a few. I have a plan to address these issues and I have, graciously, been given the ticket to lead our great party in next year’s presidential elections, with the singular mandate to come and lead the efforts to cure these ills. It is in this light that I have reached out to every single member of our great party to join me in the massive undertaking required to reset the ship of state, and help rebuild our country. Every single person who loves this country, as I do, is needed for the arduous tasks that face us ahead as a nation, and this includes every member of the PDP. And it is my fervent hope and prayer that every man and woman of goodwill will join hands with us to help rebuild and reposition our beloved country.
“In this light, therefore, I will urge those members of our party that have stated their resolve to withdraw from the Presidential Campaign Council to have a rethink, retrace their steps, and join us in these efforts.
“The above notwithstanding, and for the sake of our country, our children, and those yet unborn, we must not, for one minute, shirk in our responsibilities to rebuild this beloved country of ours.
“Accordingly, we must forge on with the task and the mandate that we have been bestowed with. It is time, therefore, to move on with the formidable tasks of nation building ahead of us.”
Osun 2022: Tribunal Adjourns Pre-Hearing In Suit Against Adeleke
The Osun Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Osogbo, on Monday, adjourned until October 4 the pre-hearing of a petition filed by Governor Gboyega Oyetola against the declaration of Ademola Adeleke as the Governor-elect.
The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Tertsea Kume, fixed the date and granted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Adeleke seven days to respond to the pre-hearing form served on them by the tribunal.
Earlier, Counsel to the All Progress Congress (APC), Prof. Kayode Olatoke, SAN, had informed the court of his readiness to continue with the pre-hearing session, having filed his form TF008, where issues for determination were raised.
At the request of the tribunal for advice, Olatoke suggested that the matter should be delayed for a few hours for the respondents to also respond to the tribunal pre-hearing form.
Counsel to the INEC, Ben Ananaba, SAN, said the pre-hearing could not go on because he was just served with the pre-hearing form this morning, saying statutorily, they have seven days to respond.
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Counsel to Adeleke, Bamidele Abolarin and counsel representing PDP, Nathaniel Oke, SAN, also requested the tribunal to give them the required seven days to respond.
Addressing newsmen after the sitting, Olagoke said the adjournment was not out of place, but the tribunal has the power to abridge the days required for any of the parties to respond.
He said that PDP is ready to defend its victory in the last governorship election in the state.
Following the outcome of the July 16 governorship election in Osun, Oyetola and the APC filed a petition before the Election Petition Tribunal sitting at the State High Court, Osogbo.
The petitioners who were seeking justice challenged the results of the election in some of the Local Government Areas and prayed the Tribunal to return their mandate to them.
Ayu in fresh trouble over whereabouts of N10bn nomination fees
The embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Iyorchia Ayu, is in fresh trouble over the whereabouts of N10 billion realized by the party from nomination fees paid by aspirants.
The fresh controversy is coming barely 48 hours to the kickoff of the 2023 election campaigns scheduled for September 28, 2022.
The PDP had fixed its presidential nomination form and expression of interest forms for N40 million, governorship N21 million, Senate N3.5 million, House of Representatives N2.5 million, and House of Assembly N600, 000.
It was learnt that a bloc in the party is trying to offer each National Working Committee (NWC) member N28millon to gloss over the huge cash in order to curtail any further crisis in the party but some members of the NWC, who rejected the bribe, are insisting on accountability and on getting answers about the depletion of the cash from over N10billion to N1billion.
According to The Nation, the aggrieved camp of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State was pushing for accountability to increase the pressure on Ayu to resign.
It was gathered that members of the PDP NWC were surprised to learn that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar allegedly made N1billion available to the party before the presidential primaries.
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Recall that Governor Wike, during a media chat on Friday, claimed that the opposition party chairman took N1 billion from a presidential aspirant before the PDP primary and did not remit the said sum to the party.
A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Ahead of our campaign, all is still not well in the party because some NWC members have raised issues over what had become of the N10 billion nomination fees.
“They are demanding immediate accountability from the party. I think their anger followed a leakage that the amount collected has reduced from about N10 billion to N1billion.
“Governor Wike’s disclosure of a N1 billion gift to the party before the PDP Presidential primaries has compounded the challenge in the party because some NWC members and stakeholders were just hearing for the first time.
“The anger is mounting and Wike’s camp is already capitalizing on the situation to push for accountability and plot Ayu’s exit.
“I can tell you that the party is in a tinderbox. Some forces wanted to use accountability as an excuse to cause confusion. We know that Ayu has repeatedly assured party leaders of being accountable and transparent.”
The source added, “These NWC members have been adamant on accountability. They are demanding the whereabouts of the huge cash.”
Pastors are to lead people to salvation not politics, Keyamo tells PFN
Spokesperson for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign council, Festus Keyamo, has fired back at the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria for the body’s criticism of the MUslim-Muslim ticket of the party’s presidential candidate and running mate, saying says pastors should lead the people to salvation and not politics.
David Bakare, deputy national secretary of the PFN, in an interview, said the group has no affiliation with members of the Pentecostal Bishops Forum of Northern Nigeria who met with Bola Tinubu, APC presidential candidate, on Friday.
The PFN also said its opposition to the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC remained unchanged.
Speaking during an interview with Channels Television on Sunday, Keyamo said the PFN has no right to criticise the decisions of the ruling party.
He said, “The PFN are not members of our party. They should go and vote that day. They should not be coming to question the decision of our party publicly. The purpose of pastors or their duty is to lead people to heaven not to lead people to [presidential] villa.
“If I go to church every Sunday, I want to hear the sermon of God and I don’t want to hear the sermon of politics or who should rule me.
“I want to hear the sermon of God and what will lead me to salvation and not what to lead me to the villa.”
Asides from the PFN, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has also condemned the selection of Kashim Shettima, a Muslim, as the running mate to Tinubu.
Commenting on the APC’s campaign strategy for the 2023 elections, Keyamo said the party will present to Nigerians the performance of Tinubu during his time as governor of Lagos.
The minister added that Nigerians are too hungry to be bothered about issues bordering on religion.
“Nigerians are hungry, they want to see how that hunger will be addressed, not how their Christian or Muslim faiths will be addressed,” he said.
“They want to see our policies on agriculture and what Asiwaju has done before as governor of Lagos state, how he improved Lagos and how he will bring that kind of posterity to Nigeria as a whole.”
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