Wike of Rivers State, yesterday, challenged the National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Iyorchia Ayu, to stop any member of the party from contesting elections.
Wike made the confrontation while responding to a recent comment made by Ayu in Gboko, Benue State saying he could have stopped the political ambitions of those calling for his resignation.
Ayu has said: “I have been silent over all the things you are hearing against me because I don’t want any crack in the party I belong to in my state. I have the powers to say ‘you and you will not go anywhere’, because I will insist that I must sign before you go anywhere.
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“But I have signed for all candidates produced by the PDP to go ahead in their dreams — whether I like it or not, I sign
Wike said: “I dare the national chairman of PDP to stop any contestant for the election. I dare Ayu to stop any PDP candidate from contesting the election. He doesn’t have the power.
“I heard when he said he could have stopped Ortom from running for election. You see how ungrateful human beings can be. This was same Governor Ortom who pleaded with us to say I can take the risk of letting Ayu become national chairman, without being greedy.
“The agreement by PDP governors was that no national chairman should come from where a governor comes from. We agreed on that, but Ortom came. And as a man we respect, he said I want to promote my people in national politics. We said okay, on your honour we let him (Ayu) be.
“This is a man who never campaigned anywhere, never printed a poster to be national chairman. Even money they gave him to print posters, he never printed any. And he (Ayu) is the one saying if he wanted to stop who brought him, a man who stood as guarantor for him, he could have done so. That is the corruption we are talking about.
“He has now come into office, seen money and power and can open his mouth to say he could have stopped Ortom. And he said he can also stop any contestant now. We dare him. I dare Ayu to stop any contestant, if he has what it takes.
“Why is he (Ayu) not resigning? He is hoping Nigerians would donate money into the party so he would again superintend over that money. He has already finished over N11billion party primaries money. Account for it, he says the public should go into the account. We say show us the money. Print the account of PDP let the world see how you expended the money.
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“This is the party all of us have laboured to take over power from ruling All Progressives Congress that has done badly. Then the national chairman would open his mouth to talk about stopping contestants.”
Speaking on the leadership challenges facing the party, Wike said the culture of impunity and arrogance within the party remains a potent threat to the chances of the party in 2023 if not immediately resolved.
Wike said: “With this culture of impunity and arrogance now creeping into the party, the country is seeing us as not being serious. Do we really want to win election with this kind of arrogance and impunity? From what we have surveyed, Nigerians want change, but that is only if the people they expect to bring that change are prepared for it.”