According to former Plateau State governor Jonah Jang, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman Iyorchia Ayu made a “secret deal” with Sokoto State governor Aminu Tambuwal to disadvantage Governor Nyesom Wike and other contestants in the PDP’s presidential primaries.
This was announced by Mr Jang, a Wike supporter, on Wednesday in Port Harcourt following a meeting of PDP members chaired by Governor Wike.
Channels television shared a footage of Mr. Jang delivering the announcement on Facebook.
Mr. Tambuwal, one of the party’s presidential hopefuls, has been chosen the campaign’s director general in support of Atiku.
At the last minute, though, he dropped out of the PDP race and urged his followers to back Atiku, the former vice president.
Atiku, emboldened by Governor Wike’s departure, easily trounced the other candidates for the party’s presidential nomination.
Mr. Ayu reportedly paid the Sokoto governor a visit at his Abuja home a few hours after the conference ended in order to express gratitude for his resignation in favor of Mr. Atiku.
Mr. Ayu’s visit to Mr. Tabuwal’s home was recorded on film.
Please accept my sincere gratitude. Mr. Ayu congratulated his host, saying, “You are the hero of the convention.”
Mr Jang, speaking after the Mr Wike-led group’s meeting in Port Harcourt, compared Mr Ayu to a “referee” who assisted one team in scoring and blew the whistle.
For National Chairman Ayu to publicly praise Aminu Tambuwal as the convention’s “hero” implies a backroom deal was struck with Tambuwal to disadvantage other candidates like Governor Nyesom Wike.
“Now, the referee was assisting one of the teams in scoring, and he blew his whistle to signal the goal. Mr. Jang stated categorically that the PDP was not established to benefit Nigerians in this way, and that Ayu must resign.
The meeting took place at Mr. Wike’s private residence in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, less than a week after the party selected certain members of the group to Atiku’s campaign committee.
However, they have sworn not to join the campaign committee unless Mr. Ayu resigns from his position as mayor.
Following the May presidential primary, the PDP has been mired in a leadership crisis.
Since both Messrs. Ayu and Atiku are from the north, Mr. Wike’s faction is calling for the national chairman to retire in order to strike a “regional balance,” but Mr. Ayu maintains that he was elected for a four-year term.
Walid jibrin, also from the northern state of Nasarawa, resigned as chairman of the PDP board of trustees (BOT), and Adolphus Wabara, a former senate president from Abia State in the south-east, was appointed chairman in an apparent effort to appease Mr. Wike and his group.
But Mr. Wike’s team, unimpressed by Mr. Jibrin’s departure, has pushed that Mr. Ayu must also leave.