Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has reaffirmed his support for Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, claiming that the PDP leadership has not been fair to the governor.
As calls for the resignation of PDP Chairman Iyorchia Ayu become louder, Ortom also denied deception suggestions in various media reports that he had split from Wike’s camp.
Both Ortom and Ayu are from the northern Nigerian state of Benue, and the former has admitted that he worked for the latter to hold the position.
However, since Atiku Abubakar (from Adamawa State) won the PDP presidential primaries in May, Wike and some other current and former governors of the party have pushed for Ayu to step down and make way for a southerner.
They contended that northerners could not hold both jobs and cited Ayu’s pre-primary pledge to quit if one of them won the party’s nomination for president. As a result of the issue and Ayu’s insistence that he won’t resign until after his four-year tenure, the party has been ripped apart.
Ortom, a well-known figure in Wike’s camp who finished second in the Atiku-won presidential primary, allegedly contradicted the Rivers governor on Monday by asserting that he helped Ayu win the PDP chairmanship and hence cannot seek to have him ousted.
However, in a statement on Tuesday, Ortom said, “There is no breaking away from our group. I still sympathise with Wike for the injustices on him and our group.”
The statement was signed by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur.
“I just returned from London this morning with Wike, and I still maintain my stand on what I said. I have not moved away from there. The party leadership has not been fair to Governor Wike based on the activities that took place during and after the convention.
“They have not been able to adequately deploy the internal conflict resolution mechanism of the party to resolve those issues. So I still sympathise 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,” Ortom said.