The Peoples Democratic (PDP) on Tuesday appointed Umar Damagum as the acting National Chairman of the party.
“The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at an emergency meeting today, Tuesday, March 28, 2023, acknowledge the Order of the Benue State High Court, dated March 27, 2023, with regards to the Chairmanship position of our great Party,” the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“After careful consideration of the Court Order and in line with Section 45 (2) of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017), the NWC resolved that the Deputy National Chairman (North) His Excellency, Amb. Umar Ililya Damagum assumes the National Chairmanship of our Party in an acting capacity with effect from today, Tuesday, March 28, 2023.”
He replaces Iyorchia Ayu who was suspended by his ward in Benue State for anti-party activities. The court thereafter restrained him from parading as the chairman of the party pending the determination of the substantive suit which has been adjourned to April 17, 2023, for a hearing.
A member of the party from Benue Terhide Utaan, who is the plaintiff before Justice W. I Kpochi, obtained the order stopping Ayu from parading himself as national chairman of the party.
The plaintiff after obtaining the court order told journalists that following Ayu’s suspension by his Igyorov Ward Exco, it was wrong for him to continue as the PDP chair. He argued that such a move will further cause chaos.
Before his suspension, there were calls for Ayu to leave the post. In the lead-up to the 2023 general elections – which the PDP lost to the ruling All Progressives Congress – a group of governors in the party called G5 repeatedly demanded his resignation from the position.
Led by Governor Nyesom Wike, the G5 argued that since the party’s presidential candidate for the election Atiku Abubakar is from northern Nigeria – Ayu – who is from the same region – should pave the way for a southerner to assume the office.