G-5 governors meet in Lagos, now Integrity group, insist on Ayu’s removal
• Makinde: We are open to reconciliation
• PDP crisis good omen for APC, says Oshiomhole
• Free yourselves from APC’s unbearable hardship in 2023, Ayu tells Nigerians
• Ex-president Jonathan’s supporters endorse Tinubu
The train of the five aggrieved Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors, led by Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, yesterday, arrived in Lagos State, with the G5 governors rebranding as the Integrity Group within the party, while reinforcing its position not to support the presidential candidate of their party.
Recall that the aggrieved governors, which include Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, have been clamouring for the resignation of the PDP National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, shortly after the party’s presidential ticket was won by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who is from the North.
They are agitating that Ayu should step down and be replaced by a Southerner within the party, maintaining that the North cannot produce the presidential candidate and the national chairmanship of the party.
Addressing newsmen after ending a closed-door session at Southern Sun Hotel, in Ikoyi, and hosted by former Deputy National Chairman of PDP, Chief Olabode George, Makinde said the Integrity Group remained the face behind the struggle within the PDP. He, however, reiterated that the window for reconciliation in the party remains open.
Those at the meeting included former Plateau State governor, Jonah Jang; former Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose; former Ondo State governor, Olusegun Mimiko; former Cross River governor, Donald Duke; Chief Dan Orbih, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, among others.
Jang said: “After a careful review of developments in our party, we have decided to stand on the decisions we took in our Port Harcourt meeting. And we hereby reiterate that the window for reconciliation remains open.”
Reacting to the development, former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has said the crisis within the PDP was a good omen that has put the ruling party ahead of the opposition in the race to retain the presidency in 2023 general elections.
Oshiomhole, who spoke to newsmen after he met President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, in Abuja, said the ongoing crisis would guarantee victory for APC.
According to Oshiomhole, Atiku has depleted the opposition party’s chances by offending some of those who ought to be major backers of his campaign, citing the emergence of the G5 governors.
“You have the G5 who said the understanding governors reached in Asaba, Delta State, voluntarily, both by PDP and APC governors on power shift, that they stand by that agreement. Leaders must have character and their stance is commendable.
“So, if you ask me how we are doing, we are doing very well. Whereas the other party is battling with five governors that backed out from how many governors they have. We have 23. Now, if you add 23 to five, I’m not saying the five are with us, but we have 23 with five, I guess that’s 28. If you subtract 28 from 36, it means only eight governors, in fact, seven, because the other one in APGA is not there.
“So, while he has seven governors working for him, we have 23 working for us and we have five who are neutral. You know when you are voting, you vote for, against or you abstain. Abstinence is as good as voting against,” he said.
HOWEVER, the embattled Ayu has appealed to Nigerians to use their votes to free themselves from the economic hardship caused by the ruling APC.
While stressing that life has been unbearable under APC, particularly with the high cost of living, Ayu stated that the ruling party should be held responsible for the country’s economic downturn.
The PDP National Chairman stated this yesterday in Akure, Ondo State capital, during the installation of former governorship candidate of the party in the state, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), as Balogun of the Cathedral Church of Saint David, Ijomu.
Ayu, who was represented by the National Secretary of the party, Senator Sam Anyanwu, said the only way out of the quagmire would be for Nigerians to vote out APC and install a government that will have the people at heart.
According to him, for Nigerians to live meaningful life, they should vote for PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku and other candidates of the party during the polls.
MEANWHILE, key supporters and kinsmen of former President Goodluck Jonathan, on Sunday, endorsed APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The supporters and kinsmen who are members of Citizens Network For Peace and Development in Nigeria (CNPDN), said they resorted to adopting Tinubu because Jonathan refused to join the presidential race, despite their consistent plea, adding that Tinubu has the structures and capacity to win the election.
Earlier in the year, CNPDN was among the first Southern coalition groups to openly urge Jonathan to run for office on the platform of APC.
National secretary of the Coalition, Mr. Francis Okereke Wainwei, who hails from Bayelsa State, said as patriotic citizens, they can’t sit back and not participate in the electoral process of the country.
Mainwei said: “As patriotic citizens, we took it up as a burning need for us to be actively involved in the process leading to the election of Nigeria’s next president, who shall be taking over from President Buhari next year.
“We consider it as very important and necessary because Nigeria needs a truly visionary, competent and detribalised leader to enthrone a more united, peaceful and prosperous nation. As patriotic citizens we feel obliged to take some proactive measures to ensure that the right president is elected, come 2023 by providing proper information and guidance that will enable the electorate elect the right candidate as president.”