Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers, says Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), agreed that Iyorchia Ayu, PDP national chairman, “must go”.
Wike spoke on Thursday at the inauguration of a campus of the Rivers State University in Ahoada east LGA of the state.
After the party’s presidential primary in May, there has been crisis in the PDP, with Wike and his allies calling for Ayu’s resignation on the grounds that the presidential candidate and national chairman cannot be from the same region.
However, Ayu has refused to step down, and referred to those calling for his resignation as “children”.
Speaking on Thursday, Wike made a reference to Ayu’s previous comments, in which the latter said he would resign if a northerner was elected as the party’s presidential candidate.
The Rivers governor also said Atiku told him Ayu “must go” on the basis that the party chairman must come from the south since the presidential candidate is from the north.
“Ayu said if the presidential candidate comes from the north, that he would resign; that the chairman of our party would come from the south. When the north-central met in the house of Bala Mohammed, governor of Bauchi state, he said so there. When he met the caucus of the senate, he told them that,” Wike said.
“Now, when we finished our convention, the candidate of the party came to see me in my house in Abuja on Monday, around 10:30am. I said ‘Listen, I want us to work together.’ He said, ‘Look, Ayu must go.’
“I said ‘why?’ He said because when a candidate comes from the north, the chairman will come from the south. And I am saying, ‘implement what you told me’.
“What offence have I committed? It has nothing to do with Wike; it has to do with integrity. I challenge the presidential candidate to deny this. If he denies this, I will go further to say so many things to Nigerians because enough is enough.”
The Rivers governor also alleged that someone in the presidency is backing the PDP presidential candidate and the party, which is contributing to the crisis.
“Why are they being so arrogant? They are arrogant because they believe somebody in the presidency is backing them. But what they don’t understand is the same person in the presidency backed somebody as APC presidential aspirant, and the person failed,” he said.
“I will tell Nigerians at the appropriate time who is that person in the presidency that is backing them that they are being arrogant.”
Speaking further, Wike said Nigerians are being deceived into thinking that he is the one causing problems in the party.
“Some of you don’t know what is happening. You are being deceived; they are telling you Wike is causing problem. Wike is not causing problem; Wike is bringing peace to the country. Wike is advocating for justice. Wike is advocating for equity, and Wike is advocating for fairness,” he said.
“Those of you that don’t understand how party functions, let me educate you. Some of you don’t understand. You think we have finished with presidential primary and it is over. When people say I want to destroy the party because I didn’t win the primary, I think they are sick; they have some mental problem.
“In a contest, there must be a winner, there must be a loser. I have no regrets. We contested election very well and we are not ashamed.”