- Wike tackles party over suspension of Fayose, Anyim, Shema
- Ortom, ex-Ekiti governor reject action
- ’It’s contemptuous’
A post-election crisis has hit the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), following its defeat at the presidential poll and governorship contests in some states.
Yesterday, the PDP leadership dragged Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom before its national disciplinary committee over alleged anti-party activities.
The party also suspended former Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose; a former Senate President, Pius Anyim; and former Katsina State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema.
Also suspended are Prof. Dennis Ityavyar from Benue State and Dr. Aslam Aliyu from Zamfara State.
Their suspension was conveyed in a statement by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba.
The statement reads: “The National Working Committee (NWC) has, after a very extensive review of the affairs of our party in the country and pursuant to the provisions of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017) referred the Governor of Benue State, Dr. Samuel Ortom, to the National Disciplinary Committee over his reported involvement in anti-party activities.”
But in a swift reaction, Ortom accused the PDP leadership of acting in contempt of a subsisting court order by referring him to a disciplinary committee.
The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, said the court order barred the PDP from taking any disciplinary measures against him.
The statement said: “The case is pending in court and there is an order of injunction restraining any organ of the party from carrying out any disciplinary action against the governor.
“This case is adjourned till April 18, 2023, and so it is baffling to see such a statement coming from the national leadership of the party.
“I think the national leadership of our great party is losing its sense of direction.
“Instead of the leadership to sit back and think of ways to rebuild the party from the ruins of the defeat from the just concluded elections, they are going about chasing imaginary shadows.”
Ortom said rather than singling him out for punishment, it is the PDP National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, who should be disciplined for anti-party activities.
He added: “In any case, the first person the party should refer to the disciplinary committee should be the national chairman of the party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu.
“The national chairman lost his polling unit, lost his ward, local government, and even the state.
“As if that is not enough, there are strong indications that the national chairman was involved in anti-party activities in Benue State by working for the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), just to get at me because of my principled stand against certain aspects of the decisions of the national leadership of the party.”
The governor said PDP must not be allowed to be ridiculed by some individuals who are bent on destroying it for their selfish gains.
The PDP had on January 20 suspended former Enugu State Governor Chikaroke Nnamani and a chieftain of the party in Imo State, Chief Chris Ogbu.
Also affected by the January 20 suspensions were Fayose’s son, Oluwajomiloju; Emiola Jennifer, Ajayi Samuel, Olalere Olayinka, Akerele Oluyinka, Ayeni Funso and Ajijola Oladimeji.
Wike: Ortom won’t appear before committee
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, who has thrown his weight behind Ortom, said the Benue State governor will not appear before the party’s disciplinary committee.
He described as nullity the suspension of Fayose and others for anti-party activities by the NWC.
The governor spoke in Government House, Port Harcourt while reacting to the NWC’s decision to take disciplinary action against Ortom, Fayose and other party bigwigs.
Wike said: “I want to state clearly and let members of the party and Nigerians hear it clearly: the NWC made up of Dr Iyorchia Ayu, who they say is the chairman of the party; Sam Anyanwu, the national secretary and other members of NWC cannot suspend Ayo Fayose, not to talk about referring governor Ortom to the national disciplinary committee.”
Wike said the decision of the NWC to refer Ortom to the committee was the height of insults.
He said: “Referring a governor to your so-called national disciplinary committee is the height of all insults, and we will not take it.
“Therefore, be ready for whatever you see as far as this party is concerned.
“Governor Ortom, who has stood firm for the unity of this country, Governor Ortom who has come out openly to say that Nigeria must be one is not the type you will say you’ll refer to that your kangaroo committee.”
The Rivers governor said if anyone deserved to be suspended from the party, that person should be Ayu, whom he accused of contravening the PDP constitution on the zoning of elective and appointive offices.
Wike said: “If there is any person deserving suspension it should be you (Ayu), who played anti-party by refusing to obey the constitution of the party on the zoning of political offices as is required.
“So, whoever tells you can suspend people, please tell the person that he is not serious.
“If you are talking of anti-party it is you who could not even deliver your unit, deliver your ward that is involved.
“Because of the activities you are involved in, people have lost hope in you. That is why you cannot win your unit, win your ward.”
Wike asked Ayu and the NWC to desist from threatening the G-5 governors and other members of the Integrity Group with suspension.
He said Dr Ayu has by his recent action opened a new chapter of political war in the party.
He said: “You cannot cage any of us. Ortom will not appear before any of your so-called disciplinary committees.
“Ayodele Fayose will also never appear before any disciplinary committee.”
My suspension won’t stand, says Fayose
Reacting to his suspension, Fayose described it as a nullity and a joke taken too far, adding that the decision of the Ayu-led NWC lacked moral and constitutional backing.
Fayose, in a statement by his media aide, Mr Lere Olayinka, said the suspension was nothing but the last kick of a dead horse.
The ex-governor stated that the actions and inactions orchestrated by those he called jesters would not stand, insisting that they were taken in flagrant disregard for the party’s constitution.
Fayose stressed: “Ayu and his cohorts are only entertaining themselves with the purported suspension as their latest comedy skit.
“In a matter of days, the inglorious tenure of Ayu as national chairman of PDP will become history and the party will enjoy a new lease of life.”