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PDP crisis: Atiku loses Ortom, Benue elders’ support

Samuel Ortom

About three months after declaring his support for the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom on Tuesday made a u-turn, as the party’s crisis deepens.

Premium Politics reported that Ortom accused Atiku of ill-treatment against Wike who has since withdrawn support for the former Vice President after he(Wike) was snubbed for the vice presidential candidate spot by Atiku.

Amid the crisis which rocked the party, Ortom who also supports Wike’s call for the party chair, Iyorchia Ayu’s resignation, gave conditions for supporting Atiku.

“I am praying. I have gone into hibernation and I am fasting and praying. So, in the end, if God directs me to support Atiku, why should I not do it? After all, he is my party man.

“But I am waiting for him (Atiku) because there are more things he is expected to do. I expected him to reach out to Wike who came second and he denied him the popular view of PDP members. 14 out of 17 members say that Wike should be the VP but in his wisdom, he chose Governor Okowa.

“Governor Okowa is a nice man and my friend and I have no problem with him. But if we are in a democratic era, and 14 people out of 17 said that it should be Wike, and he (Atiku) in his wisdom gave it to Okowa, I expect more explanation, I expect him to talk to Wike first, I expect him to even reach out to some of us so that together we can work as a party,’ he said in an Arise TV interview in June.

However, in July, Ortom made a u-turn and declared his support for Atiku albeit he still stood in solidarity with Wike on the call for Ayu’s resignation.

“I will not contradict @atiku on what he said. He is my candidate and I am behind him. Whatever happened in the course of the primaries and nomination of the Presidential running mate is now a thing of the past. PDP is a family, and we will always settle our matters in-house,” he said in a tweet in July.

However, the relationship appears to have hit the rocks on Tuesday as Ortom accused the PDP candidate of dishonouring him as Governor and working against the interest of Benue residents.

According to Channels, Ortom’s comment came after a group of elder statesmen in Benue, Minda Leaders of Thoughts, also withdrew their support for Atiku over alleged hate speech and profiling of Benue people.

Speaking at the Chapel of Grace, Government House, Makurdi, Benue’s capital, Ortom expressed displeasure with Atiku’s statement.

“It was not correct for a presidential candidate who is seeking to rule the people to say that kind of thing,” Ortom said.

“It was very wrong. And it would appear that he doesn’t even reference me and consider me to be a Governor of my state.”

“I am not in his campaign team,” Ortom said on missing out on the presidential campaign list. “The people they appointed there, no consent from me. So I’ll remain on my own. But I’m waiting; when the election comes, we shall vote the election according to the election.”

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