By G9ija

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may decide the fate of Senator Iyorchia Ayu, its embattled national chairman, as it meets today in what may be a stormy session. There is a sharp division among the NEC members ahead of today’s meeting.

While some NEC members from the South argued that Ayu’s removal was the only way out of the lingering crisis confronting the party, those against his resignation are of the view that he cannot step down at this critical time when the PDP was preparing for election.

Allies of Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, had been persistent in their calls for Ayu’s resignation, asking him to honour the gentleman’s agreement he had before his election that he will step down if the party’s presidential candidate emerges from the North.

Wike, supported by three other governors of the party, also argued that the presidential candidate should not hail from the same region as the party’s chairman, and the Board of Trustees chairman. On his part, Ayu had vowed to stay till the end of his fouryear tenure, while dismissing those demanding his removal as children who had little knowledge about the formation of the PDP.

The crisis further worsened on Wednesday as National Working Committee (NWC) members from the Southern part of the country staged a walkout on Ayu and vowed never to attend any meeting called by him again.

As a way out of the imbroglio, the chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Walid Jibrin, also offered to resign from his position.

Speaking with Daily Independent on Wednesday, a member of the NWC, who confirmed the development, said the plan to placate the Southern members of the party with the chairman of PDP Board of Trustees and the chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum is a huge joke.

“What we are insisting on is that the national chairman must quit so that peace can reign in the party. That is non-negotiable.

The plan to placate us with the positions of BoT chair and PDP Governors’ Forum chair is a huge joke.

“It only goes to show the disdain the party has for Southern members who have remained in the party and won their states from inception in 1998”.

When contacted, Debo Ologunagba, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, dismissed the report that some NWC members staged a walkout on Ayu as fake news.

“The report that there is crisis in the NWC and members have vowed not to attend any meeting called by the national chairman is completely false. It is a lie and nothing like that happened. It is just fake news that should be ignored.

“There is no problem in the NWC. We just had our meeting and we are going for our caucus this evening by 7p.m”, he said.