2023 Presidency; Benue Governor Ortom knocks PDP Chairman Ayu, hails APC Governors
The Governor of Benue State Samuel Ortom has faulted the Chairman of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Dr Iyorchia Ayu of failing to do what is necessary to resolve the lingering crisis with the G-5 Governors.
Five Governors of the party Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) and Ortom have been having a running battle with the party.
They had pulled out of the campaign of the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and demanded the stepping down of Ayu as condition to return.
Addressing journalists on Thursday, Ortom explained that if the leadership of the party were proactive, they would have done enough to end the crisis, adding that arrogance, impunity and injustice was responsible for the crisis.
The governor, who insisted that the party should have honoured its zoning arrangement, by allowing the South to have a shot at the presidency, commended the All Progressives Congress (APC) Governors for insisting that after President Muhammadu Buhari’s eight years in office, it should be the turn of the South.
The Governor said: “As faithful party men, (G5) we have given enough time. And we thought that the leadership at the National level will take advantage of the opportunity we have given them to address those issues. There are many ways of addressing issues even when you are not able to meet the demands of a group or individuals, you will find a way in between.
“Where people decide to be arrogant, where they decide to be mischievous, and do things as if the other person does not exist and try to do some things with impunity, as if they have won election, and they don’t need any other person, it becomes a problem. But election cannot be won when ballot is not cast. Because I know, as a veteran politician of over 40 years.
“So, arrogance, impunity, mischief, will not really help matters. One will expect that humility, it is said that you stoop down to conquer even if you want to make it. So, above all, politics is a game of interests. I’m interested. So, I cannot fold my hands and see somebody rubbish me. You can be older, you can be richer than me, you can be above me, but when it comes to this game, we are masters of the game. So, we are committed to issues of integrity, issues of fairness, equity, and justice.
“So, there are many ways if you have the proactive leadership, a leadership that is humble. But when you treat people like they call us that ‘children.’ I mean, a man at 62, how is he a child? A man at 50, how is he a child? We are leaders in our own right. Our people elected us. You can’t just sit in Abuja make this kind of a thing.”
Ortom also disclosed that when the Southern governors met and said for equity, fairness and justice, the presidency should go to the South after eight years of President Buhari.” It is just and fair, that it will go to the south. And that is why I commend and appreciate President Olusegun Obasanjo, a great patriot.
“I can tell you from history, that Obasanjo is a patriotic personality. When he was leaving office, and they were reputable aspirants from the southern part of Nigeria. He said no. This is not right. I’m from the south. I’m leaving office, let it go to the north.
“Nobody is God, no human being is God. But here is somebody who has distinguished himself. So, if I were to offer advice on the best material for president, I will tell you that it is Peter Obi. But it is just that I’m a PDP. I’m handicapped. Honestly, that is my candidate. I tell you the truth.”
He also said: “I must say that I’m disappointed with some of PDP Southern Governors who chickened out, who sold out and chose to do something else. In the APC, all the governors in the north, they have a majority. But you see APC, I must commend them for fighting for equity, fairness and justice, because they considered that the presidency should go to the south.
“So, I’m really disappointed as you see me because for me when the Southern governors met and say, Look, we demand that presidency should go to the South, I came out the following day and added my voice and said yes, what they have said is true, let us do it.”