Amid the rising calls for the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Iyorchia Ayu, to resign, Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State on Thursday, urged leaders in the party to uphold their promises.
Udom, who is the Chairman of Atiku Abubakar’s Presidential Campaign Organisation, said Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and other “dissenting voices” within the party have the right to express their views, noting that they won’t be ignored.
“This is a family business. Nyesom Wike is my brother, you all know that…One thing I discovered about politics and life: people should try to do what they say they will do; that is the cause of some of the problems. If I say I will do B if A happens, let me keep to that. If I say I will do B if C happens, let me also keep to that,” Udom said on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.
Wike’s group within the PDP early Wednesday announced its withdrawal from the campaign council, insisting that Ayu must step down for a southerner.
The group made up of serving and former governors, as well as ex-ministers, met insisted that both the presidential candidate of the party (Atiku) and the party’s national chairman (Ayu) cannot come from the north.
Atiku, who is from Adamawa State, subsequently said in a statement also on Wednesday that he can’t decide on the resignation of Ayu, a former senator from Benue State who is currently on a two-week trip abroad.
The former Vice President of Nigeria between 1999 and 2007 also urged Wike’s camp to “have a rethink, retrace their steps” and join his 2023 presidential quest.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme on Wednesday night, one of the members of Wike’s group and ex-deputy national chairman of the PDP, Bode George, said before the presidential primary of the party in May 2022, Ayu promised to resign should a northerner emerge but the former senator has insisted that he won’t step down, a development that riled Wike and his allies.
Speaking on Thursday, Udom said though it may be lawful for a leader to retain his seat it may also be expedient for him to vacate his position for the sake of peace.
“It is not about mentioning people’s names; everybody has a right to express his views the way he wants. PDP is a family. I can assure you we will resolve it,” he said.
Both Wike and Udom, from the South-South geopolitical zone, had contested the presidential primary with Atiku in May but the Adamawa-born politician won.
Udom described Wike as his “blood brother” and said his dissatisfaction won’t be ignored.
On his absence from the meeting in Port Harcourt where Wike’s group announced its withdrawal from Atiku’s campaign council, Udom said, “Don’t worry about that now. We sensationalise matters a whole lot. What we try to do is that we try to box individuals into our lifestyle, it cannot work like that; we are all adults. We know what is good for us, we know what is right for us.
“So, allow people to air their views but don’t also ignore people. We cannot ignore anybody if we must win elections in 2023. We cannot ignore anybody, we need to go back and carry everybody along. We are not going to ignore any dissenting voice.”
“You don’t ignore issues and believe the issue will go away. This is one thing we will not ignore. We will take it headlong and resolve it,” he added.
According to the Akwa Ibom governor, the disagreement within the party is “not high mountains that are so difficult to climb”.