Former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Wednesday, said forcing the National Chairman of the party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, to step down from his position would only be possible if the constitution of the party was amended.
This is just as he said the party had all it takes to win the election at all levels as it had ruled the country successfully before, stating that the time has come to return the PDP to power.
The former Vice President, in Ibadan, at an interactive session with party stakeholders in the South West region, while apparently reacting to the call by Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State that it was the position of the party in the South West that Ayu must step down, maintained that the party must do things based on its constitution, rules, procedures and practices.
Abubakar who was received at the Ibadan airport earlier in the day by the Oyo State deputy governor, Barrister Bayo Lawal, and other top government functionaries, was accompanied by the Vice Presidential candidate and governor of Delta state, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state; former governors Babangida Aliyu and Liyel Imoke and Senator Dino Melaye.
He said as a former ruling party, it was important for the PDP to give the people what they wanted, insisting that the task before the members is for them to ensure victory for the party at their various units.
He noted that as a founding member of the party he was conversant with its laid down rules and regulations which must be followed fully, stating that there is nothing wrong in removing the National Chairman but must be done in accordance with the constitution of the party
According to him, “The PDP is the oldest political party in the country and everything to be done must be in accordance with the constitution. The call by Governor Seyi Makinde for the National Chairman is achievable but must be under the constitution, rules, procedures and practices of the party. To do otherwise it means we cannot give the country what the people want.
“What I know is that we can win in 2023 if we want to. When I took over as the Director General of the campaign council of the party in 2003, we won South West and we can repeat it. The Electoral Act through improved electoral process has ensured no more rigging, so I am imploring all to go back to our electoral units to vote and defend it come 2023.”
Governor Makinde had in his remarks, said the PDP must restructure itself before it will restructure Nigeria, noting that one of the conditions to restructure the party is for Ayu to resign.
Makinde while speaking further, explained that the presidential candidate, Atiku is from the Northeast while Ayu is from the North central, insisting that one of the conditions to balance the equation is to choose the National Chairman from the South since the presidential candidate is from the North.
He said, “We must speak the truth. The truth is that we don’t have any issue either with the party or the candidate. We don’t have any issue in PDP. This is not about individual. Choosing the presidential candidate or vice presidential candidates are issues that are behind us, it has happened, it has happened.
“The issue is that we must restructure Nigeria if we want unity in Nigeria. But we must restructure PDP itself before we restructure Nigeria. If we want to restructure Nigeria, do we have the capacity, the answer is yes. But the South West PDP is asking the PDP Chairman to resign. The South west PDP is telling the Chairman to step down”.
Others who spoke at the interactive session include former governor of Osun state, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola; governor-elect of Osun state, Senator Ademola Adeleke, Senator Biodun Olujimi and the acting National Chairman of the party.