He was announced ahead of the party’s October 31 national elective convention holding at the Eagles Square in Abuja.
The former Senate President emerged the consensus candidate on Thursday after hours of continuous meetings in Abuja by PDP stakeholders from the North.
Earlier, a candidate had emerged each from the North-Central, North-West, and North-East geo-political zones angling for the party’s top position.
A former Katsina State governor, Ibrahim Shema defeated other aspirants to emerge from the North-West; Senator Suleiman Nazif from Bauchi State, who is the current PDP deputy national chairman (North), emerged as the sole candidate from the North-East while the North-Central chose former Senate President, Iyorchia Ayu from Benue State.
To emerge, Shema got votes from 6 out of 7 states from his zone, leaving his closest challenger, former Kaduna State governor, Ahmed Makarfi with 1 vote just from his home state of Kaduna.
Nazif on his part had no challenger and emerged the sole candidate from his region while the North-Central zone of the PDP agreed to the choice of Benue-born former Senate President, Ayu as their candidate for the position of national chairman of the party.
PDP leaders from the 19 states that make up Northern Nigeria, on Thursday, met in the Bauchi Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja and ratified the adoption of Dr Ayu as the region’s consensus candidate.
This was after he was presented to the entire North, by the leaders of the party from the North Central zone, following his unanimous adoption on Tuesday at the Benue Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, as the zone’s candidate.
While assuring that he would run a purposeful party, Dr. Ayu called on the party leaders to join him to reposition PDP with a view to bouncing back to the Presidential Villa in 2023, stressing that under his leadership, no one can use money to buy his conscience and no single man will own PDP!
“PDP belongs to all, not one man,” Ayu declared!
WHO IS IYORCHIA AYU?
Iyorchia Ayu is a former Nigerian Senator who was elected President of the Senate during the Nigerian Third Republic (1992–1993). He later served in various Ministerial positions in the Cabinet of President Olusegun Obasanjo between 1999 and 2007.
Born in Gboko in Benue State, He taught sociology in the University of Jos, including courses on the art and science of Marxism, and was the Chairman of the Jos University Chapter of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
After entering politics, he was elected Senator in the Third Republic on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and became Senate President. In November 1993, the senate impeached Ayu, who was a strong opponent of the Interim National Government established after the elected president Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola had been prevented from taking office. However, he later became the Minister for Education in General Sani Abacha’s military government.
In March 1994 he chaired a workshop on Technical Education in Nigeria, seeking ways to learn from Germany, the United States, Britain and Japan.
After falling out with Obasanjo, Ayu left the PDP and joined the Action Congress (AC). He was head of the campaign to elect Vice President Atiku Abubakar as president on the AC platform in April 2007. In February 2007, Ayu was arrested and later arraigned by a Federal court on charges of terrorism. He was later released on bail.
In March 2007, he spoke out against the failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to include Atiku’s name on the list of candidates.