Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State says he will not be part of any reconciliation meeting if Senator Iyorchia Ayu remains the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Wike, who made this known when Adamawa State governor, Umaru Fintiri, visited him in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday, said Ayu’s resignation will go a long way in his acceptance of Atiku’s olive branch.
This is coming at a time other leaders of the PDP are also mounting pressure on Ayu to step down as they make frantic effort to address the internal crisis that engulfs the party in good time ahead of electioneering commencement in September.
However, sources within the party are of the view that its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, does not want to sacrifice Ayu by easily giving in to Wike’s condition.
Vanguard was reliably informed that Governor Fintiri went as an emissary from Atiku to seek understanding with Wike.
The meeting, which held behind closed doors, was to find a resolution to the rift between the two leaders.
At the meeting, a credible source disclosed that the Rivers governor vowed not to “attend any meeting with Atiku, with Ayu as party chairman.”
Recall that Ayu had said he would step down once a northerner emerges as PDP Presidential candidate.
According to Vanguard, Wike told Fintiri that even without his insistence on Ayu’s resignation, honour, dignity and sincerity should make Ayu resign, based on his promise to do so once a northerner emerged as presidential candidate.
Similarly, former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Olabode George, had urged Ayu to do the honourable thing and resign. The source, who told Vanguard that Ayu remaining as party chair “is the sticking point”, expressed Atiku’s disposition not to be seen as “throwing Ayu under the bus.” Besides, the source disclosed that “a section of party leaders are piling pressure on Ayu to step down and do the honourable thing.
“Yes, Wike may be angry with Ayu for allegedly stopping him at the convention and again as running mate, but the real issue now is the burden of honour that is on Ayu’s head. He promised at Eagle Square that he would resign once a Northerner emerges as presidential candidate.”
According to some of the party leaders, historically, PDP chairmen have always been sacrificed. But in this case, the source continued, “Ayu is being told that he can make the sacrifice himself because that was a promise he made. There is a difference between a Northern candidate emerging and a president emerging. The burden of integrity is on him.”