Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), has stepped down from his position, amid crisis in the main opposition party.
Amb. Umar Ililya Damagum, vice chairman, north has assumed office as national chairman in acting capacity.
Ayu’s decision was announced in a statement on Tuesday by Debo Ologunagba, its national publicity secretary.
“The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at an emergency meeting today, Tuesday, March 28, 2023 acknowledge the Order of the Benue State High Court, dated March 27, 2023 with regards to the Chairmanship position of our great Party,” the statement said.
“After a careful consideration of the Court Order and in line with Section 45 (2) of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017), the NWC resolved that the Deputy National Chairman (North) His Excellency, Amb. Umar Ililya Damagum assumes the National Chairmanship of our Party in acting capacity with effect from today, Tuesday, March 28, 2023.
“The NWC charges all leaders, critical stakeholders, teeming members and supporters of our great Party to remain calm and united at this critical time.”
Damagum will assume office as the Acting National Chairman of the PDP, pending the determination of the case in court.
Recall that a High Court in Makurdi, the Benue state capital, had restrained embattled Ayu from parading himself as chairman of the party pending the determination of the substantive suit which has been adjourned to April 17, 2023 for hearing.
A member of the PDP from Benue, Terhide Utaan, who is the plaintiff before Justice W. I Kpochi, obtained the order restraining Ayu from parading himself as national chairman of the party.
Addressing journalists in Makurdi after obtaining the court order, the plaintiff said following the suspension of Ayu by his Igyorov Ward Exco on Sunday, it is wrong for him to keep up with the office of national chairman and further disunite the party.
Ayu was suspended late last week for anti-party activities in the wake of the party’s loss in the presidential election.
But in a Monday statement by his media aide Simon Imobo-Tswam, the former lawmaker argued that only the ward lacked the powers to suspend him.
Ayu’s political rival in the PDP and Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike on Monday, said he is elated that Benue State ward exco passed a vote of no confidence in him.