Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the north have endorsed a former Senate President, Iyorchia Ayu, as their consensus candidate for the party’s national chairman in the forthcoming national convention.
The governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Fintiri, disclosed this while speaking with journalists after the stakeholders’ meeting held on Thursday at Bauchi Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was convened to produce a consensus candidate to be ratified at the party’s national convention scheduled for 30 and 31 October.
Mr Fintiri, who is also the chairman , PDP National Convention Organising Committee, said Mr Ayu emerged from the three aspirants presented by the three geopolitical zones.
The other two contestants, a former governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shema, and a former senator from Bauchi State, Abdul Ningi, withdrew from the race.
“In the spirit of ensuring that PDP emerges and benefits from our efforts, so that we can win together for Nigerians in the 2023 general elections, Ayu has emerged as a consensus candidate of the north.
“With this, we are fully prepared, we are ready. We will be talking with our colleagues from other parts of the country, especially the south, they see reasons for this consensus candidate and give us support during the 30 and 31 October convention of the PDP.
“All of them were immensely qualified but through discussion and reconciliation we have emerged with a consensus list that was endorsed by the candidates themselves.
“There was no election and there was no selection,” Mr Fintiri said.
He said there was “no victor, no vanquished”, adding “we all came out united.”
In his acceptance remarks, Mr Ayu commended the party leaders for the responsibility entrusted to him, saying “I believe at the end of the day I would not just be the northern candidate but the collective will of Nigerians.”
Mr Ayu pledged that the PDP would be back with its winning strategies.
“We will work tirelessly after the convention to rebuild the party to take over power, to rebuild the country.
“I believe all Nigerians missed the PDP government. Our 16 years moved the country forward.
“We intend to work together with all the leaders not only in the north but across the country to reposition this country to the next generation of Nigerians.
“It will be an all-inclusive administration of the party. We will work collectively, we will introduce policies that will be acceptable to Nigerians,” Mr Ayu said.
Mr Ayu, a former sociology lecturer, who will be 69 in November, hails from Benue State. He is of the Tiv ethnic nationality.
He was Senate President during the botched Third Republic (1992-1993).
He later served as minister of education in the administration of late Sani Abacha and as minister in three ministries – industry, internal affairs and environment – in the civilian administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
If he emerges the national chairman of the PDP, Mr Ayu will be the third person from Benue to hold the position.
Barnabas Gemade, a former minister and senator and Audu Ogbeh, a former minister, at different times, held that position but were removed in controversial circumstances.