The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has appointed Umar Damagum as the acting National Chairman, following the suspension of Iyorchia Ayu for anti-party activities.
The announcement was made on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, after an emergency meeting of the National Working Committee (NWC).
Debo Ologunagba, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, issued a statement acknowledging the Benue State High Court order dated March 27, 2023, which led to the change in leadership.
He explained that in accordance with Section 45 (2) of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017), the NWC resolved that Deputy National Chairman (North) Umar Ililya Damagum would assume the National Chairmanship in an acting capacity, effective immediately.
The court order restrained Ayu from acting as the party’s chairman pending the determination of the substantive suit, which has been adjourned to April 17, 2023, for a hearing.
Terhide Utaan, a PDP member from Benue, initiated the court proceedings, arguing that it was inappropriate for Ayu to continue in his role as PDP chair following his suspension by the Igyorov Ward Exco. Utaan contended that allowing Ayu to remain in his position would only cause further turmoil within the party.
Prior to Ayu’s suspension, there had been growing calls for his resignation, particularly from a group of governors within the party known as the G5.
Led by Governor Nyesom Wike, the G5 argued that, in the interest of fairness and equity, Ayu should step down to make way for a southerner to assume the office, as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2023 general elections, Atiku Abubakar, is from northern Nigeria.