The leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is on the verge of caving in to the pressure from Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike in usurping the National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu.
According to The Guardian, sources close to the party said that the National Executive Committee (NEC) and Board of Trustees (BoT) are in preference of the South West producing the replacement for Ayu.
Recall that Wike and the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar recently met in London. Sources privy to the meeting revealed that Wike’s group is holding out for Ayu’s resignation and his replacement to be Dr. Eddy Olafeso, ex-national vice chairman (South-West) or Mr. Jimi Agbaje from Lagos State.
Sources said that Wike believes that Ayu’s resignation will balance the leadership of the party that currently has all top national positions coming from the North zone.
It was, however, gathered that some BoT members are in support of the former governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko replacing Ayu, even though there are reports that a group in the party from the South-West are against Mimiko emerging as the chairman owing to his inconsistent membership and “nomadic disposition’ towards the party with his antecedent of defecting from the PDP to Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), and working against the interest of the PDP during his time away.
Some groups in support of Olafeso recounted the contribution of Olafeso to the success of the party, especially the roles he played in the 2019 elections which gave rise to the emergence of Seyi Makinde as governor of Oyo State and other federal lawmakers in the zone.
They also recalled his spirited fight in 2018 that prepared the ground for the emergence of governor-elect in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke.
There are some other divides in Wike’s camp that will rather prefer Taofeek Arapaja as the acting national chairman of PDP. However, it is being gathered that Agbaje and Olafeso are likely to be presented to Atiku in the next few weeks, with the odds favouring Olafeso to become the next PDP chairman before October.
The crisis in the PDP had intensified when Atiku emerged as the presidential candidate and later announced Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate.
Some groups within the party had wanted the South to produce the presidential candidate, with Governor Nyesom Wike threatening to leave the party following Atiku’s emergence.
Reconciliation moves have since taken sway to get all aggrieved parties to reach a truce, one of such was last Thursday’s meeting between Wike, Atiku alongside some governors and stakeholders in the party.