Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says he or anyone cannot make Iyorchia Ayu, national chairman of the party, resign his position.

The former vice-president said this in reaction to the demand by allies of Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers state, who said they would not participate in the campaign of Abubakar until Ayu leaves office.

Reading out the communique after a meeting of Wike’s allies in Port Harcourt, capital city of Rivers, Bode George, PDP chieftain, said the campaign council list released by the party which has the name of Wike is “putting the cart before horse”.

The demand that Ayu resign is a demand by Wike as a condition for peace in the party.

But in a statement on Wednesday, Abubakar said he is surprised by the withdrawal of Wike and his associates from the party’s campaign council.

“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,” he said.

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“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.

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“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 everything that we do in our party must be done in accordance with, and conformity to, the law and our constitution.

“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.”

“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.”

Abubakar asked Wike and his allies to retrace their steps and be part of the campaign council.

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