Iyorchia Ayu stands down as PDP chairman and is replaced with Umar Damangun for now

EMBATTLED chairman of Nigeria's main opposition the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senator Iyorchia Ayu has bowed to pressure and stood down after being recently suspended and has been replaced with his deputy Umar Damangun in an acting capacity.


Last week, the Igyorov ward of the PDP in the chairman's native Benue State moved to suspend Senator Ayu, claiming that they reviewed his conduct at the end of the just-concluded general elections and had to act. Vangeryina Dooyum, the secretary of the ward chapter, explained that Senator Ayu was suspended by for alleged anti-party activities.


Mr Dooyum said:  “We observed with utmost dismay that Dr Iyorchia Ayu who is the national chairman of the PDP worked against the success of the party in Igyorov Council Ward. 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 APC and hence, the abysmal performance of the PDP in Igyorov Ward.


“In view 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.”


Yesterday, Charles Aniagwu, the spokesperson for the PDP presidential campaign council in Delta State said the purported suspension of Senator Ayu was illegal, insisting that those behind it were ignorant of the provisions of the party’s constitution. However, it now appears that Senator Ayu has decided to walk away from the troubles by standing down, with Mr Damangun, the deputy national chairman, north, stepping in as acting PDP chairman for now.


On Saturday February 25, Nigerians went to the polls to elect a new president and the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) has since declared Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the winner. Among the other gladiators in the contest were Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, ex-Anambra State governor Peter Obi of the Labour Party and former Kano State governor Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP).


Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the Inec chairman who served as the returning officer for the election, declared Asiwaju Tinubu the winner with 8,794,726  votes, defeating Alhaji Abubakar of the PDP, who came second with 6,984,520 votes. However, the PDP and Labour Party have refused to accept the results, taking to the courts to challenge the APCs victory.


During the campaign, five PDP governors known as the G5, had demanded that Senator Ayu must resign for them to support Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. They pointed out that as he, like Alhaji Abubakar is from northern Nigeria, he should resign and make way for a southerner to replace him in the interest of fairness.