Home Top Stories PDP Crisis: Ortom recants, says he still stands with Wike

PDP Crisis: Ortom recants, says he still stands with Wike

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By Chibuike Nwabuko

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Barely twenty four hours after his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur almost denied having hands in the travails of the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Iyochia Ayu in Abuja on Monday, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State on Tuesday recanted, reiterating that he would continue to stand with his Rivers State counterpart, Governor Nyesom Wike, on the injustice meted out to him and other members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Ortom assured that he has not broken ranks with his political buddy, Wike.

In the said press statement, Ortom was quoted as dismissing insinuations that he was in support of the removal of Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, saying it was impossible for him to advocate the removal of someone he helped to appoint.

Ayu’s continued stay as the national chairman of the PDP is at the centre of the crisis rocking the main opposition party. Wike and his allies, including Ortom, had insisted that the resignation of Ayu must be a precondition for them to mend fences with the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

But in the statement, Ortom’s press secretary said his principal was no longer part of the agitation for Ayu’s ouster.

Reacting to allegations by a group, Jemgbagh Development Association, Abuja chapter, that the Benue governor has a hand in Ayu’s current travails, Ortom, was quoted in the statement as saying it was an open secret that he worked tirelessly, alongside other prominent Benue citizens, to ensure that Ayu was elected “as the national chairman of our great party even against all odds.”

To that extent, the statement said, “The governor could not, therefore, turn around to work against him to be removed from office.”

Ortom maintained that with the backing of many leaders of the PDP, who believed his sense of judgment, they worked relentlessly in the run up to the party’s national convention to market Ayu as having the requisite capacity to lead PDP, especially, in the 2023 general election.

The statement said, “Governor Ortom vouched for the integrity and capacity of Dr. Iyorchia Ayu to lead and rebuild the PDP to victory and rescue Nigeria from the misrule of the APC maladministration. That is why Ayu was returned unopposed by the northern caucus of the party and got elected as the national chairman of the PDP at the party’s convention.

“Where was Jemgbagh Development Association, when Governor Ortom galvanised support from across the leaders of the party to make Dr. Ayu PDP’s National Chairman? What was their contribution to that project that they now want to use clannish stance to blackmail the governor?”

Ortom was said to have reasserted his confidence in Ayu’s ability to lead the party to victory in next year’s general election.

But in a dramatic U-turn on Tuesday, Ortom described the media reports, which emanated from the statement by his spokesperson, as false and misleading.

Even without disowning the statement by his chief press secretary, the Governor who made the “clarification” shortly after presiding over the Benue North-West Senatorial district PDP caucus meeting in Makurdi, assured that he would always be on the side of the Rivers State Governor.

He said, “The news report that I disassociated from Governor Wike is misleading. I just came back from London this morning with Wike and I still maintain my stand on what I said. I have not moved away from there.

“I still sympathize with Wike for the injustices meted out to him and our group.”

Ortom further stated that “the party leadership has not been fair to Governor Wike based on the activities that took place during the convention and after the convention.

“They have not been able to adequately deploy the internal conflict resolution mechanism of the party to resolve those issues.

“I still sympathize and stand with Wike and let the leadership of the party at the national level do the right thing. It is not too late to do so.

“Politics is about interest, and where your interest is not protected, you have the right to protest. We remain committed to the PDP but still want the right thing to be done so that everybody will be carried along.”

While expressing hope the nagging issues would be addressed following the initiative of the Board of Trustees (BoT), Ortom said, “On the issue in contention about the National Chairman, the BoT was here some few days ago and we deliberated on the matter. They sought to know what my feeling was about the crisis and I told them the truth as far as I am concerned.

“I gave them my recommendations and I hope that justice will be done so that our party will gain its position to take over power in 2023.”

The Governor maintained that despite the issues at the national level, “Benue State does not have any problem, from bottom to top, we are good to go. As far as our party is concerned. I am working for our candidates.”

Governor Ortom insisted that he would not work against the PDP but support every candidate, stressing “that does not mean I am not aggrieved, Wike is aggrieved and I am aggrieved too.”

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