Five governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and some aggrieved party stalwarts, on Sunday, announced the formation of the Integrity Group within the party.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the G5 Governors led by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers have been clamouring for the resignation of the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, since the party’s presidential ticket was won by a northerner, Atiku Abubakar.
Atiku defeated Mr Wike and other aspirants to emerge the PDP candidate.
Other governors in the G5 are Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State.
The governors and some other aggrieved party leaders were, as of the time of this report, having a strategic meeting in Lagos, which may not be unconnected to the agitation for the removal of Mr Ayu.
Addressing journalists before going into a closed-door meeting, Mr Makinde said the Integrity Group remained the face behind the struggle within the PDP.
Mr Makinde said: “We are here this morning to hold a meeting of the Integrity Group within our party, the PDP. We have been of the G5- that is, the five PDP governors. The G5 is all about the Integrity Group.
“You can see us, five serving governors, as the face of this struggle both the leaders and elders of the party that you see here are the people behind those faces.”
It is not clear why the group chose to meet in Lagos, a South-west state governed by the All Progressives Congress (APC). Lagos is also the base of the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu whom Mr Wike and some of his supporters have fraternised with.
SOCIETY Details… Controversies trail the marriage of Oko Oloyun’s widow, Silifat Wuraola barely two years after husband’s death
Mr Makinde, however, spoke on the need for their meeting.
“We are in the South-west to review the situation within our party, to review where we are and to also look at what is going to happen in the coming elections,” he said.
Mr Makinde noted that at the end of the deliberations, the group would fully brief the media on their stand on all the burning issues within the main opposition party.
“On behalf of our leaders and elders in the South-west, I want to welcome members of the Integrity Group and wish us well,” he said.
NAN reports that other PDP leaders at the meeting are former governors, Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo State), Ayo Fayose (Ekiti), Donald Duke (Cross River), Jonah Jang (Plateau) and former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Bode George.
Also present are former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Bello Adoke; Deputy National Chairman South of the PDP, Taofeek Arapaja; Nasif Suleiman, Nnena Ukeje, Sandy Onor and Mao Ohabunwa.
The party leaders have repeatedly maintained that Mr Ayu must resign for the sake of fairness and justice so as to bring peace to the party.
The aggrieved group maintained the need for the South to produce the party’s national chairman after Mr Abubakar became the party’s presidential flag-bearer for the 2023 general election
While Mr Abubakar is from Adamawa in the North-east, Mr Ayu is from Benue in the North-central.
Mr Ayu has, however, said he would not resign as party chairman, thus ensuring the feud remains and the party continues in disarray.