Ayu’s emergence may reshape PDP chair race - OPID News

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Monday, 11 October 2021

Ayu’s emergence may reshape PDP chair race

 Ayu’s emergence may reshape PDP chair race

The entry of former Senate President Iyorchia Ayu has introduced a new twist into the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national chairmanship race.

Ayu is squaring up with one of his successors Senator David Mark.

The two gladiators from Benue State will jostle for the office with ex-governors Ahmed Makarfi (Kaduna), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina) and Babangida Aliyu (Niger).

Some Northern PDP governors have shown their preference for Northcentral to produce the next national chairman.

It was however learnt that the camp of a former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has rejected the move to micro-zone the position to Northcentral.

Saraki’s loyalists and strategists were still pushing for an open contest by candidates from the Northcentral, the Northwest and the Northeast.

Former Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido, who was favoured by some ex-governors, has reportedly told them that he remained committed to his presidential aspiration in 2023.

Ayu’s interest in the race has made other aspirants sit up, it was learnt.

A top source, who spoke with our correspondent, said the intrigues have reached “a new dimension.”

The source said: “The jostle for the office of national chairman is getting tougher following the entering of the race by Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, who is from the same Benue State with ex-Senate President David Mark highly-favoured by Southern PDP governors. The intensity of Ayu’s lobbying at the weekend added a new dimension to it because he has been part of the backers of Mark.

“Apart from the fact that Ayu’s entrance has rekindled age-long Tiv-Idoma rivalry; the PDP may be heading back to its fault lines. It is known to all that Ayu is a strong supporter of ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Mark a product of the founders and military elite that formed PDP and installed ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999.

“The position of Governor Samuel Ortom on the two candidates from Benue State is unknown. All PDP leaders are curious about how the game will end.

“We are looking at how the game will play out because the two powerful leaders from Benue State are going to slug it out with ex-governors Ahmed Makarfi, Ibrahim Shema and Babangida Aliyu.

“There are concerns that Ayu’s coming may alter the contest. Some party leaders alleged that some powerful forces may be behind Ayu.”

It was learnt that Northern PDP governors have also been divided on the choice of a new chairman for the party.

Governors Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto); Bala Mohammed (Bauchi) and Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri (Adamawa) have been backing Mark for the office.

The three governors have been on the same page with Southern governors who proposed Mark for the job.

Although Mark’s camp last night insisted that it has the backing of Governor Samuel Ortom, the aspiration of Ayu has made them to return to the drawing board, a source (PDP BoT member) told this newspaper.

The source said: “In this contest, Mark is the leading candidate. We are already building a consensus around him because he has been a consistent PDP member.

“We won’t allow any defector to lead PDP. We want a new slate for our party with discipline as our focus.”

A National Executive Council (NEC) member said: “The only Northern PDP governor whose position is unknown is Darius Ishaku of Taraba State. No one knows or can predict where he belongs.

It was learnt that the agitation from Saraki’s camp has sustained the campaign of ex-governors Ahmed Makarfi, Ibrahim Shema and Babangida Aliyu.

A former governor, who was analyzing the situation with our correspondent yesterday, said: “Shema is a tactician, he can create upset. I don’t underrate him.

“As for Lamido, he has told some of his former colleagues that he prefers to be Nigeria’s president in 2023. Some former governors would have wanted him to lead PDP because he has party politics experience. So, Lamido is out of the equation for the office of national chairman.”




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