PDP Crisis: Ayu Denies Wike’s Claim Of Receiving N1 billion

Dr Iyorchia Ayu, national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday denied receiving one billion naira from a presidential candidate in Lagos, as claimed by Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike.

He also denied collecting funds twice for the purchase of a new property for the Peoples Democratic Institute (PDI), the party’s research arm.

This comes as the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) has asked Ayu to provide firm assurances that he will resign after the general election in 2023.

The BoT also urged all party leaders to back up their words with actions and to fulfil commitments unconditionally.

These were the highpoints of a six-hour meeting of the BoT after its special reconciliation committee submitted its report to the advisory body.

The meeting, which was held at the party’s national secretariat, started by 10am and ended at 3.14pm.

The party will hold a meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) next week to resolve the issues within the party.

Ayu who was also present at the BoT meeting yesterday denied claims by Wike that he collected money from a presidential candidate in Lagos State.

The national chairman noted that while he had deliberately refused to respond to the claims made by Wike in order not to escalate the situation but was compelled to respond because Wike dragged his family into the matter.

He said, “At no time did I as national chairman collect one billion from anybody. This is a meeting of the BoT which I am only a member of, as allegations persist, it is an opportunity to clear the air. I decided not to respond and not to encourage altercations in the party. However, I want to make it clear that at no time did I as the National Chairman of the party collect any N1bn from anybody.

“When we came in and the party has funding difficulties the presidential candidate suggested that we should take a loan from the bank and the owner of that bank is a member of the party, he has even left the party. The party never took any loan from anybody. Any money advanced to the party was declared before the NWC and handed over to the National Treasurer. All our accounts are up to date and we promised to publish the accounts at the end of the year.

“On today’s allegations I fully briefed the BoT that one of our governors made a contribution of 100 million naira for the revival of the PDI which was housed in a portacabin and I explained to them that we hired an appropriate place in Asokoro, we have furnished it, renovated it. Three days later we went there, inspected it and the NWC decided that before commissioning we should invite the governor in question to come and inspect what we have done with his contribution.”

He noted that the national secretary of the party has since written a letter to the governor, stressing that neither he nor the NWC took any money to carry out the renovation.

“In fact, we have not even exhausted that N100 million by one of the governors,” he said.

He added that he has refrained from reacting as the father of the party since the consistent attack on his person began after the party’s convention on May 31.

“I felt I should encourage reconciliation. But where it touches on my personal integrity or even my family members are brought into play I appeal to such people to desist from trying to malign my character or bringing my family into party affairs,” he said.

Meanwhile, reading their communique after their meeting, the acting BoT chairman said the BoT has asked Ayu to give strong assurances that he will resign after the 2023 general election.

He stated: “After the special Board of Trustee meeting, the following resolutions were reached: to call on all Party leaders and persons close to them, to desist from making further inflammatory remarks or granting press interviews.

“To call on the chairmen of the PDP Governors Forum to convene a meeting of the PDP Governors Forum without further delay.

“To call on all the leaders of the party to match words with action and where commitments are made to unconditionally fulfill the same.

“To urge the National Chairman as an eminent leader to give a firm assurance that he would resign his position after the 2023 elections. In the same vein the BoT Chairman has been authorized to offer apologies on behalf of all members who feel malign or aggrieved by the public statements made by its members across the country that has sharpened the current division in the party.

“To call on the presidential candidate to review its appointments of members of the campaign council and other advisory appointments to make it all inclusive.

“The BoT will refer some of these recommendations for noting and appropriate action to NEC of our party in due Course,” he said.

Recall that the Senator Adolphus Wabara-led BoT had met with key actors in the friction rocking the party, including the presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar; his running mate Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as well as the Rivers State governor, Wike, among others.

Wike and his four colleagues, Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) had alongside other party leaders distanced themselves from the party’s presidential campaign council.

They insisted on the resignation of Dr Iyorchia Ayu as the PDP national chairman to pave way for the southerner to take his place.

Wike’s camp put paid their threat not to associate with the party’s campaign activities, and to show their seriousness, they stayed away from the official flag-off of the party’s presidential campaign in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State yesterday.

While Ayu has insisted on serving out his tenure, the National Executive Committee (NEC) had at its last meeting passed a vote of confidence in his leadership.

Meanwhile, Rivers State governor, Wike, yesterday continued the media war with the PDP national chairman, Ayu, accusing him of receiving double pay for the renovation of the party’s democratic institute.

This is as he declared that the PDP remains a united political party, despite the crisis that has rocked the party since after its presidential primary election.

Wike, who spoke yesterday during a televised media chat in Government House, Port Harcourt, described Ayu as a man without integrity.

The governor alleged that he received N100 million from a serving governor and another N100 million from the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) for the same project.

He said, “If people know what we know, if we release what we have, Ayu’s children will go to him and say we are no longer your children.

“There cannot be any comment about my allegation of him collecting N1billion. He cannot say anything. Look, I am the governor of Rivers state and I don’t just come out to speak.

“Let Ayu say he did not collect N1 billion. In fact, let me also tell you, Ayu collected N100 million from a governor that he was going to renovate our democratic institution and then he (Ayu) went back to the PDP NWC and took the same N100 million for doing the same work.

“What kind of system is that? I am telling you all these are facts. Let him (Ayu) say no first and I will tell you (those he collected money from).”

Wike said while a leader must be a man of integrity, find it hard to have that integrity lately.

“You are presenting a man (Ayu) who lacked integrity as chairman of the party. Somebody that wants to lead a campaign to take the reins of government?

“What is the problem with what we are asking of Ayu? We are saying let there be equity, let there be fairness and justice. But if you don’t want it that way then you are the one causing the crisis (in the party) and that shows you (Ayu) don’t have leadership skills because this is the time to show it. This is the time to show leadership skills on the part of those who are leaders of the party.”

Wike stated that he was not afraid of the PDP chairman, saying Ayu cannot influence the people of Rivers State on whom to vote for in the 2023 general election.

The governor said, “He does not have the capacity to do that. So, why I am going to be afraid of him?

Ada Peter
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