The South-West Zonal Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Honourable Rahman Owokoniran, has strongly condemned insinuations that his being co-signatory to a communiqué by the Atiku People United (APU) to sue for peace in the Ayu-Must-Go crisis amounted to a betrayal of Southern leaders leading the agitation for the National Chairman to be replaced by a Southerner.
The APU leader said the group’s peace-making efforts had been misunderstood and deliberately twisted by satanic mischief-makers.
Owokoniran was responding to a harsh backlash over APU’s Wednesday communiqué, to which he and former PDP South Vice Chairman, Chief Dapo Sarumi, were co-signatories along with two others.
Responding through a personal statement on Sunday to a PDP chieftain Dare Adeleke, who condemned the communiqué and its authors, Owokoniran said: “Our aim was to play the role of pacifists and peace-makers over this Ayu-must-go palaver. The language, spirit and message of our communiqué had no iota of combativeness.
“Nowhere did we say that the demand for the resignation or sacking of the PDP National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, was improper. In fact, we believe completely in the justness and propriety of the agitation as currently championed by recognised eminent leaders of the PDP South, especially our highly revered Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and former PDP National Vice Chairman, Chief Bode George, the great Atona Oodua.
“Unflinchingly, we support the agitation to get Ayu out of the PDP chairmanship and for a Southerner to replace him –like yesterday. Like our leaders, we unequivocally believe that a North-South balancing at the top is the fit and proper structure the party should take on the way to 2023, especially as the Presidential Candidate, His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, comes from the North like Ayu.
“However, we have a bull-in-the-china-shop situation; and it would be foolhardy to insist on getting this stubborn mule out at all cost without caring about the precious breakables that will be broken. The situation calls for decorum and diplomacy.
“Never since 2015 has PDP’s chance of returning to power been brighter than now.
“Unfortunately, however, feedback gleaned from the social media and the streets indicate that the Ayu-must-go agitation, with the man himself stubbornly digging in, is not only affecting PDP’s image but dimming the party’s electoral value. It can end up being an unnecessary distraction that APC can cash on. If we PDP cannot manage our internal affairs, how can we say we would manage Nigeria? In this crisis atmosphere, PDP is not just risking victory in the presidential election, but other positions as well: Governorship, Houses of Assembly, Senate and House of Representatives.
“This is our point. Should we because of an internal party arrangement throw bigger prizes down the drain?
“If Ayu refuses to go, then let us keep our eyes on the ball of securing bigger electoral fortunes instead of engaging in a fight-to-finish over a structure that Ayu can only maintain temporarily.
“What can an Atiku do presently, especially when the party’s National Executive Committee, NEC, the body statutorily empowered to sack the Chairman, has instead cemented his stay by granting him a vote-of-confidence? Even worse, some state PDP chapters have begun to declare loyalty to him.
“If Ayu has a rethink, relinquishes the seat, and the chairmanship comes South, all well and good. If not, we move! Anyway, what do we gain if at the end of the day, the South takes the Chairmanship and PDP loses the Presidency? Of what value is the PDP chairmanship without the PDP presidency?
“We need to be careful and learn from 2015. PDP cannot afford to walk down the same crisis-ridden paths that cost us the 2015 elections and kicked us out of Aso Rock these past seven years.
“As for the insinuation that Chief Dapo Sarumi was sneaked into the communiqué, nothing could be more preposterous, untruthful and satanic. A simple phone call to the former PDP Vice Chairman would indeed reveal that he wholeheartedly and actively participated in this meeting; and he completely subscribes to its resolutions.
“For the avoidance of doubt, inasmuch as our motive remains purely altruistic, selfless and honourable, my colleagues and I stand by our resolution in that communiqué –everyone should see the bigger picture and make every needed sacrifice for micro and macro PDP victories in 2023.”
HONOURABLE RAHMAN OWOKONIRAN
PDP SOUTH-WEST ZONAL SECRETARY