Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party's (PDP) presidential candidate, has stated that he is unable to force Iyorchia Ayu, the party's national chairman, to step down.
In response to Nyesom Wike's supporters' declaration that they would not support Abubakar unless Ayu leaves office in favor of a Southerner, the former vice president said this.
In a statement on Wednesday, Atiku expressed surprise at Wike and his associates' resignation from the party's campaign committee.
Early this morning, I saw a news clip in which a number of very senior and powerful members of our great party, the People's Democratic Party (PDP), spoke to the media and, among other things, declared that they are resigning from the Presidential Campaign Council that our party established to wisely plan and conduct the general elections scheduled to take place in February and March 2023, on the one hand, and reiterated their earlier calls for the party to be disbanded, on the other.
“The individuals that spoke to the media must have had reasons for leaving the Presidential Campaign Council, but I won't guess what they might be.
Personally, I am rather astonished by this withdrawal because, according to party leaders, all other states of the federation—aside from the PDP branch in Rivers State—submitted names of individuals they wanted to be included on the Presidential Campaign Council.
Regarding the requests for our national chairman's resignation or removal from office, I must restate what I have said numerous times in public and privately: Dr. Iyorchia Ayu must decide whether to step down from his position on his own, and neither I nor anyone else can make that decision for him.
Regarding the calls for Dr. Ayu's resignation, however, I will say that because I am a devoted democrat and a strong supporter of the rule of law and democratic principles and because our party is one that is established, organized, and governed by law and our constitution, I firmly believe that everything we do within our party must be done in compliance with and conformity with the law and our constitution.
Now, our country is suffering from a multifaceted crisis that includes, to name a few, insecurity, economic collapse, division and mistrust among its citizens, and educational disruptions.
I have been kindly handed the ticket to represent our great party in the presidential elections next year, with the only mandate to come and lead the efforts to cure these ills, he added. “I have a plan to handle these concerns.