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Why Iyorchia Ayu Won't Be Compelled To Resign If A Northerner Gets PDP's Presidential Ticket

After the position of National Chairman of the People's Democratic Party was zoned to the North, former Senate President, Doctor Iyorchia Ayu, emerged as the favourite to win following the withdrawal of David Mark. While we will have to wait till the conclusion of the party's convention to ascertain Ayu's status, he has already spoken about what his course of action would be should a fellow northerner clinch the presidential ticket.

Photo credit: The Tribune Online.

As we all know, the PDP has a policy of not allowing its nominees for the presidency and national chairmanship stem from the same region. This is why it initially appeared that the presidential ticket would be given to a southerner, prompting northerners like Atiku Abubakar and Bukola Saraki to rise up in opposition.

However, as fate would have it, the PDP was constrained by the law to throw its presidential ticket open, after the Senate came to a resolution allowing only direct primaries as the means of nominating party candidates for elective offices. This caused northerners like Atiku and Governors Tambuwal and Bala Mohammed to become eligible.

Photos credit: The Guardian Nigeria, Premium Times Nigeria, Vanguard News.

Seeing that the presidential ticket is most likely going to fall to a northerner this time around, Doctor Iyorchia Ayu has gracefully offered to step down as National Chairman in that event, in keeping with the policy of the PDP. While this is a noble gesture, as it may then leave the position open for a southerner, Iyorchia Ayu is unlikely to resign in the long run. 

The first reason for this is that there really is no legal basis for him to step down. Neither the laws of Nigeria nor the constitution of the PDP has such a provision. The policy is simply a gentleman's agreement between the north and south; hence no one can compel him to leave nor would he be pressured to do so unless, of course, he chooses otherwise.

Photo credit: Istock.

Secondly, the twist that led to the emergence of predominantly northern candidates for the PDP's presidential ticket is by no means the fault of Iyorchia Ayu. Stepping down as National Chairman for a southerner to fill the void, should a Northern presidential candidate be chosen, is only going to make the party look bad. 

The PDP willingly chose to zone the national chairmanship position to the North. Taking it away by having Iyorchia Ayu step down will be tantamount to Indian giving - the unscrupulous act of demanding for something back after initially giving it away. For this reason, party members may be in opposition to Ayu's offer to resign. 

Photo credit: The Africa Report.

Hence, while it appears fair and considerate on the part of Iyorchia Ayu to step down if a fellow northerner is picked as the PDP's presidential candidate, for the reasons given above, it is unlikely to materialise; at least not without putting the party's reputation at risk. 

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Atiku Abubakar David Mark Iyorchia Ayu PDP People 's Democratic Party

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