The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has told Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike that the party would conduct free and fair primaries to pick its candidates for elective positions in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
Ayu said this when Wike visited the party’s headquarters to inform the National leadership of the party of his intention to run for president.
Wike asked the party leaders to support him in his bid the same way he supported them to get into office.
He however urged them to ensure that the primaries are free and fair.
According to Wike, “When I was fighting the former NWC, some of you were supporting them. Now, all of you are here.
Wike is of the opinion that “One good turn deserves another. So, you people should also payback, because you didn’t go to campaign, but now I am coming to campaign. So, payback. But please do us the favor to conduct a free and fair election, that will be an advantage for us to win in 2023.
“To show you how serious I am, I did not come here to negotiate for Vice-President. I came here to win this election and I will win this election on May 28/29.
“I did not buy Senate forms or told somebody to buy form and hold it for me. No! It is only one form I bought and that is for the Presidency of Nigeria. I am not going to run for any other election.
He avers that “PDP requires people like us to face APC. Everybody in this country knows me, because of my views on national issues. Nobody can say I don’t know whether Wike will do this or do that. When I see issues, I say my view and I am not going to run away from it.
“This is the only opportunity PDP has. If we lose this election in 2023 (God forbid). The only way God can forbid is give the man, who has the capacity to win election the ticket.
“I am courageous, fearless and I have capacity. If you allow me fly the flag of the party, which I know by the grace of God, I will be the candidate, and I become President, one of the things I will do is to address the disconnect between party and the government,” he submitted.
Responding, Ayu said: “Let me assure you that this NWC will run credible elections, which we started since 1999. I want to assure you that there will be no foul play, we will do better than what was done in the last national convention. We will try as much as possible to make it happen.
“I want to assure you that once you emerge as candidate of the party or whoever emerges, we will do everything within our power to ensure that PDP wins in 2023.
“On the one hand, you want a level play field from the NWC, on the other hand you want the NWC to canvas vote for you and vote for you to emerge as the presidential candidate. You have to choose one, you can’t have the two.
“But let assure you, this NWC will try to uphold the tradition of the PDP, that tradition since 1999 is running very credible, transparent conventions starting from Jos to the last one that produced this National Working Committee.
“I want to assure you, that there will be no foul play, no manipulation, we will certainly do better than what you did in October last year. We will hold an absolutely transparent convention. At that state, we will try to be the INEC of the Peoples Democratic Party, not be partisan. We’ll try as much as possible to make sure that every member of the National Working Committee works for the party.
“But I want to also assure you, that once you emerge, as the candidate or whoever emerges from that point on, we will be aggressively partisan, because you want the party to win the election. We will do everything in our power by way of canvassing votes from Nigerian people to ensure that the PDP wins the next election, because a victory by PDP candidate is a victory for everybody.
“And it is in that light that I particularly like your submission, when you made it clear, that win or lose, you will never leave the party. You will work for the party. You’ve done it before and we are very sure that you will do it again.
“Not only did you say that, you also spoke on issues. You applied your agenda in summary form, you outlined those things you want to see the party to do. We’ve never attacked an individual and that is what we want from all our presidential aspirants that they should stick to issues.
“You should not attack each other. By attacking each other, you undermine the party, because you give to opposition the nursery ammunition to attack us, when the candidate emerged.
“Secondly, when you attack yourselves, you’re undermining your candidate also, because if you emerge as the candidate of the party, you need every aspirant and every member of the party to canvass for you. In many parts of the country, you alone cannot win elections. You need every member of the party to work for the party.”