The National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party(PDP), Iyorchia Ayu, has said he will not resign his position because he sees no reason for him to do so.
Mr Ayu stated this in an interview with BBC Hausa Service on Wednesday.
He has been under pressure from a group of governors and former governors of the party, led by Rivers governor, Nyesom Wike, to step down and allow a southerner take his position.
The governors had been complaining against the imbalance in the leadership of the party in which Mr Ayu, the presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the heads of the major organs of the party are all from the North.
The party leaders also accused Mr Ayu of being a partial and divisive leader.
But responding to the demand on the programme of Wednesday morning, the PDP leader said those calling for his resignation are boys in the party who do not know how the party was formed.
Premium Times exclusively reported the details of a meeting held in London last Thursday between Atiku and the camp of Mr Wike over the crisis in the main opposition party.
The meeting was held over dinner at the Park Lane Carlton Hotel. Those from Mr Wike’s side at the meeting included Governors Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Samuel Ortom of Benue State and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State. Governor Ahmadu Fintiri accompanied the candidate.
Sources at the meeting had told the newspaper that the Wike camp told Atiku that it would only negotiate with him for its support if Mr Ayu steps down and is replaced by a candidate from a southern zone of the country.
Speaking on behalf of the group, one of the governors said the condition was to ensure that the party corrects the lopsidedness in its leadership before the campaigns begin and that it was in line with a pledge Mr Ayu made before he was elected by consensus at the party’s national convention last year.
The governor also accused Mr Ayu of polarising the PDP. He said contrary to the description of Mr Ayu by Atiku as the unifier of the PDP, the former Senate President is allegedly the most divisive figure to have occupied the party’s top office.
But in his response, Mr Ayu said he was elected by party members based on the guidelines stipulated by the party. He said party leaders had agreed during the convention that the party would not consider the zone where the party chairman hailed from when electing the presidential candidate.
“I was elected for a tenure of four year., I am even yet to complete a year in the office. The election of Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate did not bother the seat of the party chairman. I won the election and it is based on the party’s constitution.
“I did not commit any offence, I am committed to my work, and I don’t bother about the noise going on,” Mr Ayu said.
Mr Ayu also dispelled the fear that the crisis in the party involving Mr Wike may cost the PDP victory in the 2023 general election.
“I co-founded the PDP in Nigeria and some boys who don’t know how we struggled and what we went through can’t cause problems for the party.
“When we started the PDP, we did not know those boys, they are children, they don’t know why we founded the party. We will not agree with one person to come and destroy our party,” Mr Ayu said.