The disagreements within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been described as one of the characteristics of democratic governance.
The spokesperson of the Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Organisation, Mr. Charles Aniagwu stated this while answering questions on Arise Television on Thursday.
He said that PDP as a national party was committed to the ideals of freedom of speech and expression as guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution, adding that individuals in the party were exercising their democratic rights and helping to widen the democratic space.
Aniagwu who is also Delta State Commissioner for Information, said, “Atiku is a man of character who keeps his words if he says look we are going to run a government that will rescue Nigeria he knows that for him to do that, every segment of the society must be carried along and that includes our brothers and sisters in South West.
“What Atiku wants is to have a very peaceful government so that at the end of the day he is able to unite the country and because he believes that for him to be able to drive the economic policies he needs to, first of all, bring everybody on board.
“To unite the country he is trying to bring individuals who have the ability whether they are in the diaspora or other political parties, once you have got the quality to be effective he brings you in.
“What is happening within the PDP is democracy at play and even in the midst of the disagreements, the PDP is still far ahead of any other political party.
“Our candidate is the only person that has been able to show Nigerians that he has a policy framework that he will use to rescue Nigerians. No other candidate has been able to produce anyone even from those parties you think they are quiet without any crisis.
“Our candidate is very much prepared and he has gone ahead to make a public presentation of what he intends to do with the economy.
“So in spite of what you are hearing as disagreements, the PDP and our presidential candidate are far ahead of other parties that tend to have what we may call the peace of the graveyard,” Aniagwu said.
He commended Nigerians for their interest in the unity of the PDP and for the confidence reposed in the party to rescue Nigerians assuring that the crisis would soon be over.
“What Atiku is looking forward to is not just to get individuals on board for the purpose of getting the votes, Atiku is Interested in uniting the entire country but he is starting with the PDP.
“To be able to unite a country that is so disjointed on account of the mismanagement of our diversity is not something that you will just do in one night
“You heard the Presidential candidate when he said he doesn’t have any problems with individuals asking Ayu to step down but that for us to do so, we must also not look at the principles of the end justifying the means, we must also look at the processes that will lead us to the end in which case we need to bring to bear the provisions of the constitution of the PDP.
He called on the people of the South West to be patient with the party as issues being raised by stakeholders were being resolved in the interest of the rescue mission.
“If you listened to Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state and other leaders of the party in the South West, they clearly acknowledged that by the grace of God, Atiku will become the next President of Nigeria.
“What does that tell you, it means that we have been able to move the beam from where some persons are reluctant to join the boat to where they have now joined the boat and are now looking at what part of the seat would they take in order for them to sit comfortably.
“So the South West is for PDP and other members have declared full support for Atiku Abubakar but they are saying can we do this?
“I asked the question, does Atiku Abubakar have the power to remove Ayu? No, he doesn’t have that power. And as a man who believes in the rule of law, he is not going to do that.
“Ayu was not appointed; he was elected at a national convention where every leader of the party including those who are not feeling comfortable with him was present.
“The constitution of the party is very clear on this. If you go to the constitution of the party, you will discover in Section 45 of the constitution that for you to remove the chairman of the party or for him to resign, certain processes need to be activated.
“When the chairman resigns or is removed, the Deputy national chairman who is from the same region as the chairman will automatically have to step in.
“But beyond that, in the PDP, the third in line is the National Secretary and as we speak, it’s in the southern part of the country. There is some hierarchical form of arrangement in the party.
“The National Organising Secretary usually comes from the same region where the chairman comes from for ease of operations. So even when you ask the national chairman to step down, you must also proceed to solve the puzzle.
“How do you now deal with the Deputy national chairman who must come from the same region as the chairman and must step in, in the event of the chairman’s removal?
“So for you to demand that the chairman moves to the south, you must, first of all, solve these two puzzles. Even after you have solved these puzzles, you must also come back to begin to look at the issue of the national secretary of the party.
“These are constitutional provisions that you must look at and know whether you have the strength to offend those constitutional provisions and still remain very healthy within the party.
“It means that the resignation of the national chairman is not even the main issue but to move the chairmanship position from the north to the south is a very big issue that will alter all other arrangements within the party and we have just five months to a general election.
“So the leadership of the party is pleading with the people who believe that there is need to make that move for the purpose of equity to tarry awhile.
“Once we are able to deal with the big elephant in the house, which is organising to be able to win the general elections, then we can now come back to look at that movement of the chairman to the south,” Aniagwu added.
In the attempt to challenge the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System BVAS in court, Aniagwu described the move as unrealistic as BVAS was provided for in the Electoral Act 2022 as amended.
He called on the National Assembly to reject any INEC nominee identified to be card-carrying members of any political party to retain the independence and integrity of the electoral umpire.
“The BIVAS is backed by law and by virtue of the Nigeria constitution, INEC is empowered by law to manage elections in the country and the Electoral Act empowers INEC to further prescribe rules guiding to conduct of elections,” he stated.