Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has abandoned his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Wike, in his quest to have Iyorchia Ayu removed as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national chairman.
In a shocking statement on Tuesday, Ortom said he was not part of the plot by some PDP chieftains led by Governor Wike to axe Ayu from the position.
According to the Benue governor, he was one of those who worked to ensure that Ayu was elected as the party’s national chairman and cannot “therefore, turn around to work against him to be removed from office.”
Ortom said this in response to a Benue group, Jemgbagh Development Association, which accused him of conniving with foreigners against his kinsman, Ayu.
The governor’s response was contained in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur.
The statement partly reads: “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?
“This amorphous and emergency Jemgbagh Development Association, Abuja, which has never been heard of before, is now masquerading as the voice of Jemgbagh to embark on campaign of calumny against Governor Ortom, who has worked selflessly for the people of Benue State.
“Governor Ortom is more Jemgbagh than most of the people claiming it now. This is fact, because he has done more for Jemgbagh, both in terms of appointments and projects executed as well as patronage in the area, than even one of the Jemgbagh sons, who was governor. Besides, Governor Ortom has consistently worked for the unity of Benue State and will never stand in the way of any of her citizens, either here in the state or in the diaspora
“For those, who claimed to be leaders of this Jemgbagh Development Association, Abuja, we urge them to be truly developmental in their drive to build cohesion among the people and attract real development to their area rather than engaging in mischief or blackmail.”
Governor Wike and other PDP leaders from the southern region have been calling for Ayu’s resignation on the grounds that the party cannot have both its presidential candidate and national chairman from the same region (the North).
THE WHISTLER reported that during a recent media chat, Wike claimed that his PDP camp comprising Governors Samuel Ortom, Seyi Makinde, and Okezie Ikpeazu, agreed during their London meeting with the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, that Ayu must step down.