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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”