North Central deserves to retain PDP national chairman – Suswam

Ahead of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 18, a former governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam has revealed why the chairmanship of the party should return to the North Central region.


Suswam, a former Senator, who represented the Benue north-east senatorial district at the 9th Assembly, said a member of the party from the North Central should complete the tenure of the former PDP chairman, Iyorchia Ayu.


Recall that Ayu was sacked in March 2023 shortly after the 2023 general elections due to the leadership crisis that rocked the party.


On March 27, Justice W. I Kpochi, of the Benue State High Court in Makurdi issued an interim injunction restraining Mr Ayu from parading himself as the national chairman of the PDP.


Prior to the court order, in the lead-up to the 2023 elections, stakeholders of the party were calling for Ayu’s removal over several allegations.


Subsequently, on March 28, 2023, the party appointed Umar Damagum as the acting national chairman of the main opposition party.


Speaking during a chat with journalists in Abuja at the weekend, Suswam stated that Article 47 sub 6 of PDP constitution “clearly in very unambiguous terms said that once an officer as the national chairman is unable to act for whatever reason, the zone that he comes from should produce his replacement to complete his tenure and we don’t see any reason why we will not do that.”


The former governor, who had declared his interest for the position, said his view that a member from the North Central should complete Ayu’s tenure has the backing of the PDP constitution.


According to him, “Iyorchia Ayu was removed almost a year now, and he has not been replaced because the party has not been able to put itself together. Issues that were outstanding have not been addressed.


“And so every person seems to be doing what he or she likes. But after almost a year, there is this feeling that the party is too despondent, and so there should be some resuscitation of our party, and so let’s have a substantive chairman, hence I declared my interest to replace Ayu since I’m from the North Central.


“Since I indicated interest, there have been a series of activities. NEC has been called, caucus has been called and BOT has been called and we believe that some major decisions will be taken, including that of having a substantive chairman to replace the acting chairman who is from the North East.


“We at the party level believe the North Central should produce that replacement. There are antecedents and that is what is stated in the constitution.


“It is not as if we are devoid of people with the capacity. We have a lot of prominent people. So far, I think two of us have indicated interests that I know. Myself and someone from Kogi who was a former minister. From the rumour, I’m hearing that there is a third person.


“I’m not saying that it must be me, but North Central should not be shortchanged.


“When Bamanga Tuku was removed, Muazu was brought in from the North east. After Muazu, Modu Sheriff. So there is a precedent for that.


“So I don’t see any reason this should be an exception. When Solomon Lar’s tenure, his first tenure expired, it was moved to Gemade. Of course when Gemade was removed, Audu Ogbe completed that tenure.


“So there is a precedent for this, so there is nothing unusual that we are demanding from the North Central.


“We believe that with these three meetings that have been convened by the national working committee of our party, that decision will be taken and one of us will emerge as the replacement for Ayu to complete his tenure.


“It is true that I desire to complete that tenure, it’s true that I have stepped in to consult with people within the North Central.


“Ordinarily, it would have just been a North Central affair. This is not an elective kind of contest. It is just for people to sit down and say look, this is the person we feel that has the capacity to compare Ayu’s tenure. It is not as competitive as people are putting it.”

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