The post-election crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party took a new turn on Monday as a Benue State High Court, Makurdi, restrained Senator Iyorchia Ayu from parading himself as the national chairman of the party.
The restraining order marked the resumption of the hostility between a group backing the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and five governors who refused to campaign for him during the 2023 electioneering.
The court ruling came barely 24 hours after the executive of Ayu’s Igyorov Ward in the Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State suspended the PDP chairman for alleged anti-party activities.
Ayu’s suspension came four days after the National Working Committee of the PDP suspended former governors Ayo Fayose (Ekiti), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu) and a former Senate President, Anyim Pius, and others for alleged anti-party activities.
The party leadership also referred the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, to its disciplinary committee for the same offence.
Ortom is a member of the G-5 governors comprising governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) who are insisting on the removal of Ayu to address the lopsidedness in the leadership of the party which they alleged was skewed in favour of the North.
Announcing Ayu’s suspension on Sunday, the Ward Secretary, Mr Vangeryina Dooyum, who spoke on behalf of the Ward Chairman, Kashi Philip, explained that the party chairman worked against the party in the just concluded elections.
Dooyum, who read a statement signed by 12 out of the 17 ward executive members, stated, “It is on record that he has also failed to pay his annual subscription fees as provided under Section 8 (9) of the Constitution of the PDP, 2017 (As amended).
“Further investigation also revealed that he did not vote during the governorship and state assembly elections held on March 18, 2023.
“It was also discovered that most of his closest allies worked for the opposition party, the All Progressives Congress and hence, the abysmal performance of the PDP in Igyorov Ward.
“Because of the foregoing, we hereby pass a vote of no confidence in Dr Iyorchia Ayu and suspend him as a member of our party with immediate effect. The suspension takes effect from March 24, 2023.”
But reacting to his suspension on Monday, the embattled chairman declared that the PDP constitution expressly prohibited any organ of the party or executive committee at the ward, state or national level to take any disciplinary measure against any member of the National Executive Committee, arguing that only the NEC could suspend him.