IT IS NOT UNEXPECTED, that in turns, Nyesom Wike, the strong man of Rivers State politics, and perceived strong man of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, may eventually, stand-alone, in the relentless “fight to finish” he is waging against the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the party’s National Chairman Iyorchia Ayu. Wike’s loss of the party’s presidential ticket to Atiku, and the loss of vice presidential ticket to Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Delta State, south-south Nigeria, puts him on war path with his party.
Last Friday, at a press conference in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Wike boasted to remain in the party and fight on for the resignation or removal of Ayu, as a condition for his group to support Atiku in the presidential election. He dared the party to suspend him, and face the consequences. In Wike’s camp are some serving and former governors on the of PDP, including Samuel Ortom, Governor of Benue State, north-central Nigeria, and some prominent stakeholders in the party, who have defied reconciliation moves within the party.
In reverse gear, on Monday, Samuel Ortom, distanced himself from Wike and his allies, who have been calling for the resignation or removal of Ayu as the National Chairman of the party. Nathaniel Ikyur, Chief Press Secretary to Ortom, while reacting to allegations by a group of Benue indigenes, in Abuja, by the name Jemgbagh Development Association, that Ortom was plotting the downfall of Iyorchia Ayu, a fellow Benue man, said Ortom has confidence in Ayu’s ability to lead the party to victory in 2023 general election.
Ortom’s Chief Press Secretary statement, noted that Ortom worked tirelessly with prominent Benue citizens to ensure that Iyorchia Ayu was elected National Chairman of PDP, against “all odds”. And the governor could not turn around to work against him to be removed from office. The statement noted that Jemgbagh Development Association, Abuja chapter, allegations were “mischievous”.
“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.
“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”, the statement further added.