The governor of Benue State, Dr Samuel Ortom has said has warned against supporting a Fulani person for the 2023 presidential election.
Ortom stated this while hosting his colleagues – Messrs Nyesom Wike (Rivers State), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) in Makurdi ahead of yesterday’s kickoff of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaigns in the state.
Recall that the five governors popularly referred to as G-5, have been consistent in their demand for the national chairman of the party, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, to step down arguing that northerners should not be the party’s national chairman and presidential candidate.
On the other hand, Ayu, a Benue indigene, insisted that he was not going to step down till the end of his four-year tenure.
Ortom who also is a member of the PDP and G-5, said Benue citizen supporting the party’s presidential candidate for the 2023 election, Mr. Atiku Abubakar, would be regarded as his enemy.
The governor who told Atiku, who is Fulani, to go to hell, also expressed his frustration with members of the PDP from the State in the National Assembly who, according to him, had kept quiet in the face the invasion and killings of Benue citizens.
“I am very angry with all members of the National Assembly who are from Benue State for leaving me alone in the fight against this invasion. Your long silence over the killing of our people by the marauding herdsmen who have vowed to take over our ancestral land, I am not happy with you, especially the senators. Keeping quiet for this pogrom on our people means you are dining and wining with the FG at the detriment of the people that elect you.
“I will never again support any Fulani man in the 2023 elections to continue with the killing of my people and collection of their ancestral land.
“To hell with the PDP presidential candidate; I can’t support a Fulani man for any election so that they will continue with the killing of our people. At 62, I am not afraid of death. Even if I die defending my people, I will be grateful to God because I will be fulfilled,” he said.
Ortom described Wike as a true friend of Benue whom he said had taken it upon himself to support the humanitarian challenges in the state saying Benue had already received over N700 million from him for the welfare of the displaced persons
He also stated that the Rivers State governor was not against the national chairman of the PDP, Dr Iyorchia Ayu as a person, but “is standing for what is true, fair, equity and justice in the PDP.”
“Some people are blackmailing me for calling on Ayu to resign. Yes, because I can’t betray Governor Wike. He was the one who supported Ayu to emerge as the national chairman. So, it would amount to betrayal if Ayu reneges on his promise and expects me to support him because he is a Benue man like me,” he added.
Ortom noted that the G5 all agreed to work together for the good of Nigeria and to deliver it from the basement bad leadership has plunged it.
For his part, Wike said the PDP G-5 is bonded to save Nigeria stressing that nobody can break their ranks in their continued insistence that Ayu should resign.
He noted that because the five governors had remained dogged on their demand, people have made several efforts to break their ranks but cannot succeed.
“And if you look at us here, the way we are, people have tried to see how they can break us, you cannot. We are bonded to save Nigeria.
“That is why when you see all of us, we are impenetrable. Nobody can divide us. They have tried everything in this world to divide us, but no way.
“The way we operate, I will talk; we have people who don’t talk. You may be underrating them. By the time they will shock you, you will think it is Wike. It is not the Wike you are seeing,” he said.
Wike said Nigerians are expecting the PDP to rescue the country, but it appears the leadership of the party is not showing serious commitment to that course.
Noting that inclusivity remains a precursor for peace and unity, he said: “Agreement is agreement. Respect agreement, so that there will be peace, there will be unity. What we are asking for is inclusivity; include everybody.
“We are not talking about presidential candidates. We have finished that one. We have a presidential candidate, we have a vice presidential candidate.
“But that one that will go to the other people, give them so that everybody will move forward. That is what we are saying, nothing more.”
On the 25 buses donated to Benue State PDP for their campaigns, Wike corrected and gave a clearer perspective to it.
The governor explained that the buses were part of the bulk of vehicles his team acquired for his presidential campaigns if he had won the primary.
He stated that since that ambition did not materialise, the team decided that the vehicles should be shared among those who supported the course.
The governor said the G-5 comprises people who have shown leadership in their various states, and on issues of national concern, taken the risk to speak the truth, maintain integrity and are consistent.
In their separate speeches at the event, all the senators representing the three senatorial districts of the state, Messrs Gabriel Suswam, Emmanuel Orker-Jev and Abba Moro, agreed that the crisis rocking the party and its governors would be put to rest before the general elections.
In placatory tones, Orker-Jev re-echoed Moro’s speech, referring to the crisis as “family troubles” that would be resolved “before the elections.” Suswam also maintained: “PDP has an internal conflict resolution mechanism for sorting out itself.”