Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has reiterated his support for his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Wike, saying the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party has not been fair to the governor.
Ortom also dismissed as a ruse, insinuations that he has broken away from Wike’s camp as calls for the resignation of PDP Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, intensify.
Ortom and Ayu are both from Benue State in North Central Nigeria and the former had disclosed that he worked for the latter to occupy the office.
However, with the victory of Atiku Abubakar (from Adamawa State) at the PDP presidential primary in May, Wike and some serving and former governors in the party have been demanding that Ayu vacate the position for a southerner.
They argued that northerners cannot occupy both positions, claiming that Ayu had before the primary promised to resign should a northerner emerge as the presidential candidate of the party. The controversy has torn the party apart as Ayu insisted that he won’t step down till after his four-year term.
Ortom, a known face in the camp of Wike who came second at the presidential primary won by Atiku, reportedly contradicted the Rivers governor on Monday when he said he worked for Ayu to become PDP chairman and therefore can’t work for his removal.
However, in a statement on Tuesday, Ortom said, “There is no breaking away from our group. I still sympathize with Wike for the injustices meted out on him and our group.”
The statement was signed by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur.
“I just came back 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 the convention 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 sympathize 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 was quoted as saying.