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Iliya Damagum takes over as Ayu steps down as National Chairman of PDP

Iliya Damagum
Iliya Damagum


Iliya Umar Damagum is now the acting chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as Iyorchia Ayu has stepped aside from the role.

Until his appointment, Damagum was the PDP national deputy chairman (north).

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national working committee (NWC) confirmed the development on Tuesday.

The decision to replace Ayu became necessary after High Court in Makurdi, the Benue state capital, restrained embattled Ayu from parading himself as chairman of the party pending the determination of the substantive suit which has been adjourned to April 17, 2023, for hearing.

A member of the PDP from Benue, Terhide Utaan, who is the plaintiff before Justice W. I Kpochi, obtained the order restraining Ayu from parading himself as national chairman of the party.

Addressing journalists in Makurdi after obtaining the court order, the plaintiff said following the suspension of Ayu by his Igyorov Ward Exco on Sunday, it is wrong for him to keep up with the office of the national chairman and further disunite the party.

The ward executives of Igyorov Ward had earlier suspended Ayu for anti-party activities.

The executives said Ayu’s anti-party activities led to the loss of the PDP in the governorship election in Benue.

The suspension of Ayu was also expectedly backed by Governor Nyesome Wike.

Wike on Monday stated that it has now become unthinkable to allow any person who was unable to deliver his political unit, ward, local government, or State to the PDP during the last general elections to preside over the party.

The Rivers State governor accused Dr. Ayu of collecting bribes and the PDP experienced colossal failure in the 2023 presidential and governorship elections in Benue and across the country.

“Ask them, those who want to be chairman of this party (PDP), what do you have to give to the party now? Presidential election; you took bribe, and lost in your unit, lost in your ward, lost in your local government, and lost in your State. Which party will you preside over now?”

The governor added that it will be morally offensive for Ayu to remain as the national chairman of the PDP after the catastrophic defeat of the party under his watch in his unit, ward, local government, State, and national.

According to him, the suspension of Ayu is the beginning of the fight to save the party.

“Those of you who are fighting that they have suspended him, you have not seen anything yet. The fight has started. Ayu, the fight has just started. If you know him, those of you who are close to him, tell him, Iyorchia Ayu, the fight has just started.”

Governor Wike insisted that instead of Dr. Ayu, using his position to strengthen the grip of the PDP of Benue State, he allowed it to slip off him.

According to him, other PDP-controlled States cannot sustain the party financially and tolerate him as their chairman.

“Will you preside over the one (Rivers PDP) I have secured victory for? Do you want to come and preside over this State (Rivers) so that we will begin to donate money to the party? You, bring your own State to the party too, so that your State can contribute money to the national. If you don’t deliver your State, you can’t preside over us. You cannot.”

Governor Wike noted that already, some persons within the party are thinking and acting to side with Dr. Ayu to fight back the suspension slammed on him.

He warned such persons that they will be doing so to their detriment because they would have consequences to face.

Specifically, governor Wike said: “look at somebody who did anti-party, he is suspending people. The chief priest of the anti-party, native doctor of anti-party suspending those who have worked hard for this party.
“All of you who are joining Ayu, be prepared. Now, I have no other job, the job I have now is to put more heat on them and I will continue to do that.”

Governor Wike pointed out the nullity of the purported summoning of members of the National Working Committee of PDP to Abuja to meet and pronounce the suspension as illegal.

“If you like, let the National Secretary rush to Abuja. Let them meet this afternoon and say the suspension is illegal, you will see what you will face. You are calling us small boys, you will see what small boys can do to you.”



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