PDP CRISIS: Ortom Blames Southern Govs For Zoning Collapse

PDP CRISIS: Ortom Blames Southern Govs For Zoning Collapse
  • .Says arrogance, impunity, mischief not helpful

By Caleb Ishaya 

As crisis between the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the G-5 governors lingers, Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has accused his southern counterpart in the Party of causing the collapse of the zoning principle ahead of the 2023 Presidential Election. 

Recall that 17 Southern Governors had in 2021; different occasions insisted that power must shift to the South in 2023 without mentioning which particular part of the South the power should be shifted to. 

The G-5 governors have demanded the resignation of the PDP National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu as a precondition to support the presidential ambition of Atiku Abubakar in the 2023 Presidential Election.

Otorm in an interview with selected reporters yesterday saluted the courage of his counterparts in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, for deciding to move the presidency to the Southern part of the country. 

Otorm, while speaking on the grievances of the G-5 governors, said they are committed to issues of integrity, issues of fairness, equity, and justice.

“It is not new to anybody for me in particular, the governor in the North. When the Southern Governors met and said that, look for equity, fairness and justice, the presidency should go to the South after eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari. It is just naturally fair that it will go to the South”.

The Governor also insisted that the G-5 is not in a dilemma over the choice of presidential candidate in the coming election, noting that if the national leadership of the party fails to bring the group back on board, the aggrieved state chief executives will align with presidential candidates they like at the coming election.

He disclosed that even if the problem with the G5 is resolved, he has a personal problem with the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who he accused of abandoning the people of Benue State when they were under the siege by armed Fulani herdsmen.

“So, you can see what is happening, my colleagues in G-5, we are all PDP members and most of us are contesting the elections, except our chairman, Governor Wike. I am the leader but we have a chairman, who is not contesting elections, that is very passionate about the issues.

“But you see, I must say that I’m disappointed with some of the PDP Southern Governors who chickened out, who sold out and chose to do something else. In the APC, all the governors in the North have a majority. How many of us here in the North are PDP? We are just four. Myself; Tambuwal of Sokoto, Bala of Bauchi and Ishaku of Taraba. But you see the APC governors; I must commend them for fighting for equity, fairness and justice because they considered that the presidency should go to the South.

“Mind you, Nigeria is a country with multiple ethnic groups, multiple religions, and multiple sentiments that at all times, we must be sensitive to ensure that we harness and try to marry all these things so that we live together. You know. And so, the APC governors came and said look, this thing should go to the South.

“During the convention, there were aspirants from the North. But even the northern delegates of the APC voted against them, those ones in the North, that look, we have said this thing should go to the South, this is how it should be.

“So, I’m really disappointed when the Southern Governors met and said, “Look, we demand that the presidency should go to us in the South, I came out the following day and added my voice and said yes, what they have said is true, let us do it. So, these are issues.

“That notwithstanding, arising from the convention that did not favour my candidate, Governor Nyesom Wike, whom I thought was the best material for the presidency in this country, one zoning, in our party, the party appreciates zoning.

“There should be zoning. And the outcome, according to them, did not…but there were issues that we were concerned needed to be addressed. This was not addressed. And we put it before the leadership and the leadership turned a blind eye and abandoned it. We made efforts even on our own.

“As an elder, among the G5 and leader of the G5, I had admonished that we must tread with caution. Let’s give the leadership of the party an opportunity to address these issues that we’re raising.

“So, there are many ways of killing the rat, I am Tiv man and I eat rats. Whether you set the trap, you can catch a rat. If you dig the hole you can catch a rat? If you pursue the rat around as you see, as you see it, you can get it killed.

“So, there are many ways if you have proactive leadership, a leadership that is humble. But when you treat people like they call us that ‘they are children.’ I mean, a man at 62, how is he a child? A man at 50, how is he a child? But none of us are less than 40 years. We are leaders in our own right. Our people elected us. You can’t just sit in Abuja and make this kind of a thing.

“So, no efforts by the leadership of our party have been able to address the issues that we are raising. They have not been able to adopt methods that will pacify and placate the G-5, you know. This is not right. So, on the G-5, that is where we are.

“Apart from the G-5, I’ve had personal issues with the presidential candidate of our party. He has turned a blind eye to the sufferings and the plight of the people who elected me. I have cried for more than six years about the carnage, the frustration I have, and the terrorist activities of Fulani herdsmen, only for our candidate to go to Kaduna and say that he is a Fulani man, so I should not complain when they are killing my people. I mean, this is unfair to me.

“So, for me, there are options in politics. I can decide to sit back and also turn a blind eye and not do anything at all. I can decide on the day of voting to go and vote for somebody I think can bring succour to me and my people. I can do that.

“So, but we have to be strategic. It’s not that we’re not stuck. We know what to do. In the end, if the leadership or party is not able to come out with strategies that also help to bring us back into the fold, we can decide to say okay, let everybody go and do the election according to the election. So, that is it”.

In Benue State’s gubernatorial election, he reiterated that the candidate of the PDP, Titus Uba, emerged after an extensive period of consultation.

He stressed the need for continuity to enhance the development of ideas also put in place.

“As you see all of us at the national level, state level, and even me going around in the manner that I have done within this period that you’re here, is because I’m also interested in something.

“When I’m contesting the election, and I want somebody that is familiar with the program that I’ve been doing to win the election. So that there will be continuity.

“You know, the government is a continuum. It is not just ‘soldier come soldier go.’ It doesn’t add much value when it happens like that. But if there is a development plan, that people are ready to follow it to the end, it will make more sense and it will add more value”, he added. 

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