I cannot force Ayu to resign as PDP chair, Atiku replies Wike

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says he cannot pressure Iyorchia Ayu, national chairman of the party, to resign from office.

Mr Abubakar reiterated this in a statement on Wednesday while responding to the demand from Governor Nyesom Wike’s camp in the PDP that the opposition chief must resign.

The governor and his allies appointed into the campaign council of the former vice president pulled out on Wednesday, insisting that Mr Ayu, who has remained defiant after initially promising to step aside should a Northerner emerge the party’s candidate, must go.

Those aggrieved are of the opinion that the presidential candidate and party chairman cannot hail from same Northern region to give a sense of belonging.

“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,” Mr Abubakar explained. “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.

“If Dr. Ayu is to be removed from office, it must be done in accordance with the laws that set out the basis for such removal. In any event, you will all recall that the very body that is empowered by law to initiate this removal from office, has already passed a vote of confidence in him,” the PDP candidate added.