The crisis rocking the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took another turn on Sunday as the G5 governors who are aggrieved over the national chairmanship of Senator Iyorchia Ayu named their faction as ‘Integrity Group’ which will fight injustice within the party.
The aggrieved G5 governors are insisting that “Ayu must go before any reconciliation” christened their faction as Integrity Group on Sunday after a critical meeting over the crisis rocking the party inLagos.
At the meeting which held at residence of former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George, the group said no going back on the decision not to be part of the campaign of the presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
The G5 have called for the removal of the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, citing regional balance in the party’s structure.
However, Ayu has insisted that he won’t step down till the end of his four-year tenure, even as the G5 made his resignation a precondition to support Atiku’s 2023 presidential ambition.
While Wike and his allies have not been seen to campaign for Atiku, it is not clear whether they will support Tinubu or Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, in the contest for Aso Rock’s top job..
Those present at the meeting include Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State and Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State.
Others at the meeting are former governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, former Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayo Fayose, former Cross River State Governor, Mr Donald Duke, former Plateau State Governor, Mr Jonah Jang and former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Bode George.
Also present are former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Bello Adoke; Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Mr Taoferk Arapaja; Senator Nasif Suleiman, Mr Nnena Ukeje, Senator S. O. Onor and Senator Mao Ohabunwa.
Addressing newsmen after its closed door meeting, former Plateau State Governor, Mr Jonah Jang said it has not closed its door on reconciling with Atiku.
“We have reviewed the issues in our party and we, therefore, stand on the position we took at our last meeting in PortHarcourt and we hereby reiterate our position that the window for reconcilation in our great party, the PDP, remains open,” he said.
Speaking before the meeting proceeded behind closed doors, Makinde stated that the G5 governors who were the face of their struggle were being backed by the leaders and elders of the party present at the meeting whom he said are now part of the newly formed Integrity Group.
Makinde said: “We are here this morning to hold a meeting of the Integrity Group within our party, the PDP. You’ve been of the G5 that is the five PDP governors. The G5 is all about the Integrity Group. You can see us, five serving governors, as the face of this struggle but the leaders and elders of the party that you see here are the people behind those faces.
“We are this morning in the South West to review the situation within our party, to review where we are and to also look at what is going to happen in the coming elections. At the end of our deliberations, you will be fully briefed on where we stand on those burning issues. On behalf of our leaders and elders in the South West, I want to welcome members of the Integrity Group…”
The group had at a meeting held in Port Harcourt in September 20 declared it would not be part of Atiku’s meeting.
George who read the communique then said the campaign council list released by the party which has the name of Wike is “putting the cart before horse”
Recall that the Presidential Candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and some PDP Governors have been at daggers drawn over removal of Ayu and the need for the South to produce the party’s National Chairman.
The G5 governors and some party leaders issued a communique after its strategic meeting in Lagos.