Most Nigerians are puzzled by the sudden decision of the National Chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia Ayu to leave Nigeria and go abroad just when attempts are being made to fix the party.
His sudden decision to jet out of the country is coming against the backdrop of a proposed meeting which is expected to take place in Port Harcourt to resolve the problem in the party.
Ayu has insisted he is going nowhere, claiming he has a four-year mandate while his vociferous supporters said his exit could create a constitutional crisis.
But the former Senator, according to media reports, has left for Europe for reasons that are not yet known.
The implication is that Ayu who formally handed over the reins of party leadership to the Deputy National Chairman, North, may be away from the country for a long while.
Atiku, Ayu, Wike engaged in a battle of wits.
It would also mean that the National Chairman will not be among leaders of the PDP who are expected to be in Port Harcourt to broker peace.
A source at the National Secretariat told the Port Harcourt Telegraph Tuesday night, “The sudden trip of the Chairman out of the country has taken all of us by surprise.
“He was expected to be part of the official delegation of eminent party chieftains who are planning to proceed to Port Harcourt any moment from now.”
As things, are, Ayu may not be present, not to talk of leading the delegation which will be comprised of members of two powerful organs of the party, the National Working Committee as well as the Board of Trustees.
The delegation, if everything goes according to plan, will visit the Rivers capital this week.
While in Port Harcourt, they will hold crucial talks with Governor Nyesom Wike.
Also expected to be present at the meeting would be members of the Wike team.
They include Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State and Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State who is being primed for a role in the yet to be formed campaign council.
Others who are likely to be at the gathering are former Governor Ayo Fayose, former Governor Donald Duke, Professor Jerry Gana, one-time Minister of Information and National Orientation and Barrister Adoke, SAN, one-time Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
The Wike group which has a sizeable following across the country have argued that in order to cure the regional imbalance caused by the emergence of Atiku Abubakar as the presidential standard bearer, Ayu should go.
While Golden Ben-Chioma, a former factional Chairman of the APC in Rivers State who has found solace in the SDP said on Open Conversation, an interview programme broadcast on Atlantic Television that Ayu should stay, Chief Ogbonna Nwuke, a former member of the National Assembly disagreed.
Chief Nwuke emphasized that the PDP Constitution did not envisage a situation where the North would have the position of the National Chairman and the presidential candidate at the same time.
Addressing APC members who discarded their brooms and picked up branded umbrellas belonging to the PDP mat the Isaac Boro Park in Port Harcourt, Governor Nyesom Wike said the vote of confidence passed on Ayu will not save him.
Now that Ayu has decided at the 11th hour to hand over and go abroad, many are wondering what could be the reason for his sudden action.
First of all, there is the thinking in some political circles that Ayu may be suffering from an undisclosed medical condition that needs urgent attention.
Those who belong to this school of thought point out that this may be the prime reason why the National Chairman could have left the country in a hurry.
Secondly, another school of thought believes Ayu has left to enjoy a well deserved holiday, preparatory to the take off of the political campaign season.
Ayu had maintained that he has been working round the clock to rebuild the Peoples Democratic Party, saying some of the attainments of the party are products of that zeal.
Thirdly, there are those who suspect Ayu who would have wanted to be at the head of a delegation that would be headed for Port Harcourt would have bowed to pressure to stay away from the proposed meeting.
“The idea for Ayu to leave the country may be part of a plan for the man to save face. His presence in Port Harcourt could have spoilt the fun for PDP leaders who are in no mood to lose Wike”, a source maintained.
But there are growing indications that Ayu may have lost out of the game entirely. This some analysts say might be the fourth reason why Ayu has left the country.
The Atiku camp may have come to the conclusion, given information that is emerging, that Ayu might just be a huge and unnecessary burden to carry.
The National Chairman, Wike and his associates say, had promised that he would leave office if a northerner were to emerge as a presidential candidate of the party.
For weeks, the party Chairman who hails from the North Central has been under noticeable pressure to fulfill his pledge.
“The way things are shaping up, Iyorchia Ayu is gradually being forced out of office”, an insider disclosed.
“Party leaders are determined to unite the party. They are not looking at faces now that it has dawned on us that we have to win this election for ourselves and the Nigerian people.
“Ayu may have become a sacrificial lamb. He would have to throw in the towel and allow the party to correct the regional imbalance which exists. This is something that Wike and his support base has been pointing at as a condition for peace.
“We cannot alienate the South which contributed to the strength of our party because of the interest of one man and a handful of his supporters who are too power drunk to study the mood of the nation.
“Besides, we need Wike and his friends on board in order to win and win convincingly. We need to admit they have not been properly treated.
“Look at what is happening in the South East, South South and the South West. It would be dangerous to ignore the emerging trends that we are seeing”, the well placed party chieftain added.
Finally, the Governors have transformed into a powerful force within the party.
At this time, there are strong signals among from their midst that Ayu’s leadership might do more harm than good.
Going forward to an election, ensuring the unity of the party’s governors has become increasingly important.
Which is why removing the obstacle that has separated them in the past few weeks has earned the support of most PDP Governors.
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