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PDP chairmanship: It must not be me, but North Central should not be shortchanged – Suswam 

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A former Benue State Governor, Senator Gabriel Suswam has insisted that the North Central should not be shortchanged and should be allowed to complete its tenure with regard to the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, chairmanship.

Suswam, a former senator while addressing some select journalists in Abuja during the weekend advanced very critical reasons why someone from the North Central must complete the aborted tenure of the ousted chairman from the zone, Mr Iyorchia Ayu.

He argued that by virtue of the PDP constitution, North Central should ordinarily be allowed to produce a candidate in a consensus manner. He argued that Article 47 sub 6 of of the PDP constitution unambiguously stated that once the chairman or any national officer of the party is removed, his deputy will act pending when the zone that produced the removed chairman will produce a replacement.

The former governor who has since declared his interest to run for the office of the PDP national chairman, said:

“As you know I’m a PDP member and a member of the 9th senate. I lost the last election and we as PDP we lost the election. And since we lost that election there has been a lot of crisis in the party which has led the party to a state of comatose. Iyorchia Ayu as you know was unceremoniously removed from the office. By the constitution of our party, once the chairman or any national officer of the party is removed, his deputy will act pending when the zone that produced the removed chairman will produce a replacement.

“Iyorchia Ayu was removed almost a year now, and that has not happened because the party has not been able to put itself together. Issues that were outstanding have not been addressed. And so every person seems to be doing what he or she likes. But after almost a year, there is this feeling that the party is too despondent, and so there should be some resuscitation of us party., and so let’s have a substantive chairman, hence I declared my interest to replace Ayu since I’m from the North Central.

“Since I indicated interests, there have been a series of activities. NEC has been called, causus has been called and BOT has been called and we believe that some major decisions will be taken including that of having a substantive chairman to replace the acting chairman who is from the North East.

“We at the party level believe the North Central should produce that replacement. There are antecedents and that is what is stated in the constitution. Article 47 sub 6 of PDP constitution

clearly in very unambiguous terms said that once an officer as the national chairman is unable to act for whatever reason, the zone that he comes from should produce his replacement to complete his tenure and we don’t see any reason why we will not do that. It is not as if we are devoid of people with the capacity. We have a lot of prominent people.”

Speaking on those warming up for the position of the national charman from the North Central, he said, “So far, I think two of us have indicated interests that I know. My self and someone from Kogi who was a former minister. From rumour, I’m hearing that there is a third person. That is good because all of us are from the North Central. I’m not insisting that it must be me, but if it’s me, it will be better for the party. I’m not saying that it must be me, but North Central should not be shortchanged.

Making reference to how the party acted in similar situations in the past, Suswam reeled out a list of past chairmen and how they succeeded one another.

He said, “When Bamanga Tuku was removed, Muazu was brought in from the North east. After Muazu, Modu Sheriff. So there is a precedent for that. So I don’t see any reason why this should be an exception. When Solomon Lar’s tenure, his first tenure expired, it was moved to Gemade. Of course when Gemade was removed, Audu Ogbe completed that tenure. So there is a precedent for this, so there is nothing unusual that we are demanding from the North Central. We believe that with these three meetings that have been convened by the national working committee of our party, that decision will be taken and one of us will emerge as the replacement for Ayu to complete his tenure.

“It is true that I desire to complete that tenure, it’s true that I have stepped up to consult with people within the North Central. Ordinarily, it would have just been a North Central affair. This is not an elective kind of contest. It is just for people to sit down and say look, this is the person we feel that has the capacity to compare Ayu’s tenure. Is not as competitive as people are putting it.

Responding to whether he would be able to break the jinx of removal from office if he emerges the next PDP chairman, he said people have accidents on the way while driving but such will not stop others from driving.

Speaking on why he is most qualified for the job, he said:

“I’m a big beneficiary of the PDP and so since 1998 when I joined PDP I have not left. I have been a member of House of Reps for 8 years and Governor for 8 years and a member of Senate and at least, I can confidently say that I know all that is involved in PDP, the length and breadth, both horizontal and vertical, I know PDP so I will be better places to address those agitations within the party. There are lots of agitations, a lot of loose ends, and at least, I know the major characters and these are people that I can walk up to and talk with them and appreciate what the issues are. So you need somebody who can reach out to the major characters and I think I’m that person that can reach out to them.

“My intention is to reconcile the party, especially given the situation that we found ourselves today. We will reconcile the party and place it as the best alternative to the current government.”

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