By Cosmas Omegoh

It has finally ended for Dr Iyorchia Ayu. He is  no longer the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). This means that he will no longer be in command at the party’s Wadatata House in Abuja. As the party’s erstwhile helmsman, Ayu’s acts, will going forward, be told in the past.

Right now, Ayu’s words will no longer be the law they hitherto were. PDP faithful will no more take orders from him. What he earlier held tightly had snapped, leaving him with the straw. That is how things have happened so fast, so quickly. Who says these are interesting times for Ayu?

Last Tuesday, April 25, the media space went buzzing with the news of Ayu’s resignation from office. Ayu had thrown in the towel, handing the reins of PDP to the part’s Deputy National Chairman, Umar Damagum. He no longer wanted to be the chief shepherd of the party some are sad to say he guarded and guided to failure in the February 25 presidential and parliamentary polls. For him, it was time to go.

This came on the heels of his purported suspension by the Igorov ward executive committee of PDP in Gboko, Benue State, which he, Ayu, vowed to challenge in court.

While Ayu held sway, a cross section of his partymen and women was livid. At that time, some of his party’s faithful did not like the way things were going. What they saw had the semblance of a vice. So, they began voicing their resolve that Ayu must go and his office let another take. 

However, it was foolhardy to believe Ayu was totally the sinner he was portrayed to be, while his traducers are the saints. Not everyone in PDP was happy with his vision and mission, his will and his ways. That is the telling reality not to be discountenanced. After all, this is a free world – a selfish one at that.

But there is no neglecting how it all started for PDP, how discontent against Ayu’s later-day reign mounted. It started small; then gradually, it took a life of its own, graduating to strident calls for Ayu’s resignation. Then no one took the calls seriously. 

But as time went on, the optics changed. The aggrieved PDP members coalesced to a force. Five governors of the party a.k.a G-5: Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, Samuel Ortom of Benue State and Seyi Makinde of Oyo State assumed the arrowhead of the Ayu-must-go onslaught.

In the PDP, things went  from bad to worse after the party’s  presidential primaries that produced Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to contest the February 25 election. The G-5’s main grouse as much as many knew was that since Atiku had emerged from the Northeast, it was right and just for the chairman of the party to be of the South to achieve balancing of political power. Ayu is from the North-central. The G-5 persistently reminded Ayu of his promise to stand down as chairman of PDP if the party’s presidential candidate emerged from the North to achieve power balancing.

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When things went the way everyone saw them go, the G-5 became all the more vehement that Ayu must resign. But Ayu, a one-time Marxist grew adamant, insisting that anyone telling him to leave office must be talking bunkum. He reminded all and sundry that he had a full tenure to run. He must see it through to the end.

But as the electioneering progressed, the G-5 insisted that the more Ayu failed to resign, they won’t support the PDP. They showed that in their words and actions.

When it became clear that things had started going down the hill for the PDP, the G-5 again emphatically called on Atiku to prevail on Ayu to go. But the former vice president kept papering the cracks as they widened before his own eyes. Meetings after meetings and loads of entreaties by both sides petered to naught. Each of them was stillborn. It began looking like both Atiku and the G-5 were programmed to ruin the umbrella they held.

Even as things progressed, some optimists were solidly hopeful that Atiku as a veteran politician had the wand to navigate the maze of naughty issues there were, so as to get the PDP going. Everyone was upbeat of a last ditch effort that would guide the PDP out of the woods. But that didn’t happen.

At that time, pundits kept wondering what Alhaji Atiku stood to gain from failure to persuade Ayu to leave honourably. For them, it was clear to see that Ayu’s lone vote and even his humongous influence as PDP chairman could not weigh anything on the scale near a fraction of what the G-5 would bring to the table. Not forgetting the financial war chest they commanded. But all that was frittered away; things went on the blind side of Atiku and all around him, even as everyone waited for the last minute truce that never was.

Even till this moment, trend watchers are hard put to understand why Ayu’s refusal to see that G-5’s resolve to sink PDP as a portent threat. Many who followed what went down between Ayu and Atiku on one hand and the G-5 on their other believed that if indeed Ayu loved PDP – if indeed he loved Atiku – and truly desired his success at the poll, he would have graciously left the party much, much earlier than when he did. At least, that would have stood the PDP in a better stead to challenge for glory in the last elections. Sadly, that didn’t happen.

Now, it is no longer news that Atiku did not realise his life-long ambition of becoming president at the last election. As it stands, he needs more than a miracle to become Nigeria’s next president. Perhaps, he could have clinched victory in the last election if only Ayu had left the PDP long days before he did. Now, sadly, the days are far spent for Atiku; he watches with starry eyes as his chances of becoming president go up in smokes. 

When, therefore, it emerged that Ayu had resigned as chairman of the PDP, many who heard burst out with wry laugh, likening the move to medicine after death. Or handing the dead a hat after his head has been blown off. Why now, they reasoned.

What kept him so long: failure to see the gathering rain clouds? Or the lucre of office? Or a certain pull to pillage PDP? Or all? Certainly, only Ayu will tell!