Still smarting from its defeat at the February 25 presidential and national assembly elections, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Thursday, suspended a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose and a former President of the Senate, Senator Pius Anyim.
Also hit by the PDP big stick were Prof. Dennis Ityavyar from Benue State and Dr. Aslam Aliyu from Zamfara State, over alleged anti-party activities, believed to have translated into the PDP defeat on Saturday, February 25.
In addition, the NWC has also dragged some prominent members of the party in Benue State, including the governor, Samuel Ortom, before a disciplinary committee, while at the same time set up a caretaker committee for the party in Katsina State.
But Fayose, who reacted to the news of his suspension, has described the action as the last kick of a dead horse, saying while the PDP lost the presidential election as a result of the fragmentation within the party, a majority of the leaders of the party also worked against the party.
Also, Ortom has warned that the NWC of the PDP was acting in contempt of a subsisting court order by referring him to the disciplinary committee of the party for alleged anti-party activities.
On his part, the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has berated the PDP leadership for the suspension of Fayose and others over alleged involvement in anti-party activities, saying the party should have suspended its National Chairman, Dr. Iyiorcha Ayu, instead.
Meanwhile, the PDP governorship campaign council in Adamawa State, has called on INEC to sack the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr Hudi Yunusa Ari, over alleged manipulation of results to favour the APC governorship candidate, Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed-Binani.
This is as some protesters under the aegis of National Youth League for the Defence of Democracy (NYLDD), on Thursday, in Abuja, demanded the immediate arrest and prosecution of INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
In a statement by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, the PDP said, the NWC has approved the suspension of the following from the party with effect from today, Thursday, March 23, 2023.
Those suspended are Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti State), Senator Pius Anyim (Ebonyi State), Prof. Dennis Ityavyar (Benue State) and Dr. Aslam Aliyu (Zamfara State).
Further, the PDP said, “The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has after very extensive review of the affairs of our party in the country and pursuant to the provisions of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017) referred the Governor of Benue State, Dr. Samuel Ortom to the National Disciplinary Committee over his reported involvement in anti-party activities.”
The PDP urged all leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of party across the country to remain united and focused at this critical time.
Relatedly, on behalf of the National Executive Committee (NEC), and in line and in pursuant to Sections 29(2)(b) and 31(2)(e) of our the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017), the NWC has approved the composition of the Katsina State Caretaker Committee to run the affairs of the Katsina State chapter for a period not exceeding 90 days (3 months).
Members of the Katsina State PDP Caretaker Committee include Dr. Abdulrahman Usman as Chairman.
Others were Hon. Nura Shehu Giwa, Hon. Haruna Jami, Lawal I Safana Sanusi Audu Fari, Nura Ahmadu Kurfi, Sani Abdullahi Daba, Magajiya Lawal Matazu, Ado Dan Tura, Hon. Hamza Yunusa Jibia, Abdulhamid Danbatta, Aisha Medinat Ibrahim and Halima Zubairu Abdulhamid as Secretary.
The NWC urged all leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of the party in Katsina State to remain united and continue to work together for the task ahead.
Fayose: My Suspension Last Kick of Dead Horse
However, reacting to his suspension, Fayose, who described his suspension as “the last kick of a dead horse”, said, “Ayu and his cohorts were only entertaining themselves with the purported suspension as their latest comedy skit.”
Fayose, in a statement by his spokesperson, Lere Olayinka, said in a matter of days, the inglorious tenure of Ayu as national chairman of PDP would become history and the party would enjoy a new lease of life.
The former Governor, said he and others, who stood by the party when Ayu and his cohorts left it to die would rescue it and give life back in due course, stressing that the purported suspension had no legs to stand.
Earlier on the Morning Show on ARISE News, Fayose, who claimed the PDP couldn’t have won the presidential election because it was fragmented, reiterated that he supported the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, by mobilising his supporters to vote for him in his state.
He hinted that a majority of the PDP leaders worked against the party, because they didn’t believe in the process that produced former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the candidate of the party in the 2023 elections.
Fayose was of the opinion that going by Nigerians’ attitude, and the behavioural component of everybody involved as well as stakeholders, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did well.
He explained that the electoral umpire INEC did not carry guns and did not have powers to do certain things, other than to ensure a free and credible elections, adding that the majority of the politicians that contested in the just concluded elections were desperate to win at all cost.
Noting that what happened during the last election was not different from what happened in 1979, Fayose said, “I am one Nigerian that I am going to tell you my feelings without looking at your face. You might not like my opinion about things, but I’m going to just let you know this is my opinion and it remains. Let me tell you nothing has changed in Nigeria since I grew to know Nigeria and Nigerians and the political evolution.
“We had an issue in 1979, Chief Obafemi Awolowo went to court, before (Muhammadu) Buhari took over. And when we came to this new day democracy in 1999, we’ve always gone to court. The system is sick. We are all involved. We are all guilty and we need to sit back.
“I absolutely believe in the judiciary that they will do justice. But let me say to you, none of the contestants, none of them did not do one wrong thing or the other. And the system does not limit or give the whole of the actions to INEC. INEC is just one party of all the parties to this whole issue on ground.
“May I say to you that our leaders are products of what we make out ourselves. When you give money (for) vote buying, who receives the money? The people. When you give police money, who gives the money? Who received the money? The police, not the giver. Now we are in the stage of the lawyers, they will all begin to charge money because it is a cash out time for all of them.”
Fayose noted that the majority of people who were not supposed to go to court were encouraged to go by the lawyers because of what the lawyers would make out of it, stressing that while he was not trying to justify what happened in Lagos during the elections, whatever happened in Lagos happened in other parts of the country.
According to him, “Most of the things that happened in Lagos happened everywhere. So don’t let us single out Lagos, Kano, Kaduna. We were seeing the same attitude as in 1979. Nothing has changed. In the north, we saw what happened in a number of states. When they begin to talk about Lagos, I get angry.”
The former governor said the Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, and his Labour Party counterpart were looking for allies to create an impression that the election was rigged, but disagreed with them.
“The way you lay your bed, you sleep on it. Take a PDP for example. Was the PDP expecting to win that election? The answer is no! We’re badly fractured. The same set of people that betrayed the party at that time. It was a payback time. Majority of the leaders of the PDP were pregnant inside and had their stomach flat externally. They were all working against the party, because they never believed in that process.
“To me, that election going by Nigerians’ attitude, going by the behavioural component of everybody involved and stakeholders, INEC did well. Let me say to you, my position is this, Asiwaju won that election fair and square,” he said.
He said as far as he was concerned, the election that brought Tinubu within the context of the conduct in this country was credible, but it might not be the best.
Ortom: PDP NWC Acting in Contempt of Court
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on Thursday, said the NWC of the PDP acted in contempt of a subsisting court order by referring him to the disciplinary committee for alleged anti-party activities.
Ortom, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, “It is contemptuous of the leadership of the PDP to disregard the Court Order, which barred the party or any organ of the party from issuing any disciplinary measure against him.
“The case is pending in court and there is an order of injunction restraining any organ of the party from carrying out any disciplinary action against the governor. This case is adjourned to 18th April 2023 and so, it is baffling to see such a statement coming from the national leadership of the party.
“I think the national leadership of our great party is losing its sense of direction. Instead of the leadership to sit back and think of ways on how to rebuild the party from the ruins of the defeat from the just concluded elections, they are going about chasing imaginary shadows.
“In any case, the first person the party should refer to the disciplinary committee should be the national chairman of the party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu. The national chairman lost his polling unit, lost his ward, local government, and even the state.
“As if that is not enough, there are strong indications that the national chairman was involved in anti-party activities in Benue State by working for the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), just to get at me because of my principled stand against certain aspects of the decisions of the national leadership of the party.”
Wike to PDP: Suspend Ayu, Not Fayose
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has berated the PDP leadership for the suspension of a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, and others over alleged involvement in anti-party activities, saying Ayu should have been suspended instead.
He however, boasted that his Benue State counterpart, Ortom, would not appear before any disciplinary committee over same allegation.
Wike, who spoke on Thursday in Government House, Port Harcourt, said the decision to refer Ortom to the party’s disciplinary committee was an insult to the governor, and described the suspension of Fayose by the PDP leadership as a nullity.
“I want to state clearly and let members of the party and Nigerians hear it clearly, the National Working Committee made up of Dr Iyorchia Ayu, who they say is the chairman of the party; Sam Anyanwu, the national secretary and other members of NWC, cannot suspend Ayo Fayose, not to talk about referring Governor Ortom to national disciplinary committee.
“Referring a governor to your so-called national disciplinary committee is the height of all insult, and we will not take it. Therefore, be ready for whatever you see as far as this our party is concern. Governor Ortom, who has stood firm for the unity of this country, Governor Ortom, who has come out openly to say that Nigeria must be one is not the type you will say you’ll refer to that your kangaroo committee,” he said.
He said if anyone deserved to be suspended from the party, that person was Ayu, whom he accused of contravening the PDP constitution on the zoning of elective and appointive offices.
Fintiri’s Campaign Seeks Sack of Adamawa REC
In another development, the PDP Campaign Council for Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, which made the call at a press conference in Yola, also called on the international and local observers as well as the media to investigate the activities of the REC during the governorship to further prosecute him and his co-conspirators to save the nation’s democracy.
Deputy Director-General for the council, Chief Felix Tangwami, who read a speech on behalf of the council, said before this drama, Ari, had at collation centre sent another form EC&C to the Returning Officer Fufore LGA, Dr Bashir Danejo, to reentered the final results, asking him to do everything possible to help the APC candidate to win the polls, saying it was an order from above.
“Saying it is an instruction from above, highly classified. The statement was gotten from a leaked telephone conversation that has since been in circulation on the social media.
“Again the proper thing to also do after the leaked conversation of Mr Ari with the Returning Officer Fufore LGA is hearing that Mr Ari has been suspended immediately so as redeem the lmage of the commission.
“But no, the INEC headquarters was silent and could not even call Ari to order, kept Adamawa Governorship results for 48 hours that led to friction between security men and some youths, which led to injuries and damage to some properties such as cars,” he said
He said the PDP would not accept and would resist and shall asked its lawyers to make sure Adamawa was not taken for granted
Protesters Seek INEC Chair, Yakubu’s Arrest
Meanwhile, protesters under the aegis of National Youth League for the Defence of Democracy (NYLDD), on Thursday, in Abuja, demanded the immediate arrest and prosecution of Yakubu.
The protesters, who called on President Muhammadu Buhari to put in place an interim government that would conduct fresh elections before he leaves office on May 29, matchedin their numbers from Unity Fountain to the Court of Appeal, saying Thursday’s protest was a continuation of the one held on Wednesday.
Chuks Okocha, Adedayo Akinwale, Kingsley Nweseh in Abuja, Nume Ekeghe in Lagos, Gbenga Sodeinde in Ado Ekiti, Daji Sani in Yola and Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt