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If Atiku needs my support, he knows what to do, I won’t betray my conscience – Ortom

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Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue, has maintained his position that Iyorchia Ayu, must quit as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the irreducible minimum for him to support the party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

It is the same demand the G-5 Integrity Group to which he belongs alongside four other governors – Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, who leads the group, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu and Seyi Makinde of Oyo, who have maintained that it was against the spirit and letters of the party for Ayu and Atiku to occupy the two key positions, having come from the same North.

Maintaining that he would not shift from the demand and that it was up to the PDP leadership to do the right thing, Ortom, however said he would not force any member of the party in his state to toe the same line, as they were free to decide what was best for them in the spirit of democracy.

Denying that he had mad a volte face and was now supporting Atiku, a decision, which he reportedly conveyed to members of the party, during a meeting with stakeholders in Benue on Monday, the governor in a statement by Terver Akase, his spokesman, described the report as not only false and mischievous, but authored for selfish purposes.

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“We read a fictitious online report which claimed that the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, and his colleagues in the G5 have resolved to work for the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to win the 2023 election,” the statement reads.

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“The report is not only false but also mischievous as it is targeted at embarrassing the five governors who have chosen the path of justice, fairness, and equity. Manufacturers of the said report were apparently on a desperate mission to score a cheap political point.

“The report could not mention the place and date of the said meeting of G5 Governors. The writers only sought to take advantage of the crisis within the PDP for their selfish purposes. Governor Ortom and other members of the G5 have not endorsed the said presidential candidate.

“When he finally announces his choice of presidential candidate he will not impose it on the PDP members in the state. When the Governor met with the expanded state caucus of PDP yesterday, January 9, 2023, at the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi, his message to them was crystal clear that the national leadership of PDP has failed to utilise its internal conflict resolution mechanism which has led to the crisis rocking the party.

“The Governor said during the meeting that if the crisis is not resolved before the elections, he would be left with no other option than to take a stand on the matter. He added, however, that he wouldn’t impose his decision on members of the party in the state.

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“Stakeholders present at the meeting commended the Governor for his patriotic disposition and pledged to line up behind him. Those who spoke on behalf of zones A, B, and C, as well as for women and youths, all said Governor Ortom has shown the character of a dependable leader who puts the interest of his people first.

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“The stakeholders pledged to find ways of resolving the internal crisis rocking the party while assuring the Governor that they would continue to stand with him through thick and thin. Governor Ortom did not address the press after the meeting. The online report is, therefore, fake and should be disregarded.”

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BREAKING: PDP Chairman dies!

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Death has hit hard at the the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), with the death of Fatai Adams, chairman of the party in Ondo State, in the early hours of Wednesday.

Though details of his death have not been revealed, The PUNCH, quoted Kennedy Peretei spokesman of the party in the state who confirmed the incident as saying the party would soon make official communication to the media on the matter.

“Yes it is true but we will soon communicate you properly on the incident,” Peretei said of the ex-party boss, reportedly suspended last month by the State Working Committee (SWC) for allegedly involving in some anti-party activities.

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BREAKING: Atiku disowns Bwala! *Says, he never worked for me

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Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Tuesday, formally washed his hands of Daniel Bwala, spokesman of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation (PDP-PCC), who worked with him as the official spokesman for the 2023 presidential campaigns.

The former VP, spoke against the backdrop of what looks like a switch of loyalty to President Bola Tinubu, underscored by his first visit to the Presidential Villa, in Abuja on January 10 and most recently on January 29 in Paris, where the former Governor of Lagos State, and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was on a “private visit.”

A clarification statement from the Atiku Office, on Tuesday maintained that Bwala was a former spokesperson of Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation and not a former aide to the former Vice President, adding: “It is important that the media and the general public take corrective note of defining Mr. Daniel Bwala as an aide to His Excellency Atiku Abubakar.”

The statement, continued: “Bwala offered his services and support to the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation as a spokesperson – and it was a position he held during the last presidential campaign. Subsequently, and after the election, the need for a campaign spokesperson has terminated, and Bwala has moved on with his career.

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“This, therefore, serves as notice to the media and the interested public to desist from defining Bwala as an ex-aide of Atiku Abubakar. We duly urge the public to henceforth recognize, introduce, and define Daniel Bwala by his current vocation and alliance.”

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Apata: I’ll never be a mole for a non-performer like Obaseki

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“I want to clearly and unequivocally state that I have absolutely no knowledge of the protest of Sunday, February 4, 2024, at LP’s Edo State secretariat in Benin, nor have I sanctioned or approved it in any way. The baseless rumours and insinuations that have been mischievously circulated that the protesters carried out my bidding are totally false, unfounded, and quite frankly ridiculous.”

These were the exact words of Olumide Apata, former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), as he dismissed insinuation of being a mole, of Godwin Obaseki, Governor of Edo State.

Apata, aspirant of the Labour Party (LP) for this year’s governorship election in the state, said he would never be a mole, agent, place-holder, or surrogate of the “poorly-performing” Edo state governor, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Labour Party (LP) in Edo.

Maintaining that the opposition LP was the party of choice in Edo, with many persons flooding it daily in the state and other parts of Nigeria, given its being people-centered, Akpata, an indigene of Benin Kingdom, told reporters that he would emerge victorious, both at the February 22 primary election and the September 21 governorship poll in the south-south state.

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He stated that he would not be a political harlot, stressing that if he did not get LP’s governorship ticket this year, he would remain and join other well-meaning members to build the party, but declared that LP in Edo must put its house in order, for the best person to emerge the standard bearer of the party.

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The governorship aspirant, who had practised Law for 30 years, stated that with his integrity, maturity, excellence and track record of impressive performance, especially as NBA’s president, his pedigree and antecedents, there was no way he could be the sponsor of last Sunday’s protest by some LP’s members at Edo secretariat of the party in Benin, and earlier attack on the National Youth Leader of LP, Anslem Eragbe, in the Edo state capital.

“As a loyal and dedicated member of LP, who has invested significant time, energy, and resources towards building and strengthening the party across Edo State since I joined, it is both laughable and utterly despicable that I would be linked to any kind of violent protest at the party’s secretariat in Benin. These bogus allegations and rumours are likely emanating from certain quarters within and even outside the LP that are opposed to my emerging as the party’s governorship standard bearer in the February 22, 2024, primary election.

“In their desperation, they have resorted to underhand tactics and smear campaigns to undermine my widespread credibility, acceptability, and support base within and outside the party in Edo State and across the country. This is yet another ludicrous attempt to unjustly give a dog a bad name, to hang it.

“I want to categorically state that I, my campaign organisation, supporters, and well-wishers do not engage in, encourage, or sanction any kind of violence or unwholesome conduct. These puerile allegations are the products of malicious minds that are aimed at unfairly and irreparably tarnishing my hard-earned reputation, image, and rising popularity as a foremost governorship aspirant of choice within the LP in Edo State.”

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Emphasising that he was never and would never be a violent man or be associated with it he said: “As a lawyer of more than 30 years, I fully understand that peaceful protest is the fundamental right of every Nigerian citizen, guaranteed by the constitution and upheld by the courts of the land. Law-abiding citizens of Nigeria have a right to freely associate and protest, provided that this is done peacefully and legally, without threatening lives or property.

“If some persons have, however, acted unlawfully, in the course of the alleged protest, I strongly urge that they be promptly reported to the appropriate law-enforcement agencies for proper investigation and possible prosecution, as provided by our laws.

“I reject all insinuations and rumours linking me or my supporters to the purported protest. I remain focused and steadfast in the pursuit of my governorship aspiration in a lawful and peaceful manner, upholding the principles of tolerance and justice.”

The governorship aspirant also stated that he had confidence in the discerning wisdom of members of the LP, Edo people, and indeed Nigerians to reject all forms of violence, propaganda, and deceit while stressing that united in diversity, a greater Edo state would be built.

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