PDP crisis: It ‘ll be difficult for G-5 governors to accept Atiku – Ortom

The internal crisis rocking the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may have finally come to stay as Benue state Governor Samuel Ortom told the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar off, daring him to do his worst.

In specific terms, the governor bluntly told the former vice president to go to hell if he thinks speaking against the killing of his people by ‘Fulani herdsmen’ was wrong.

Ortom said if Atiku, a title holder in Benue could speak as if supporting the killing, he, as the governor won’t do that.  
He spoke Sunday night in Makurdi at a dinner organised for Governors Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Seyi Makinde of Oyo, Ifeanyi  Ugwuanyi of Enugu and Ikpeazu Okezie of Abia.

The governors were in the state for the launch of the PDP campaign.

The governor said irrespective of the outcome of his senatorial ambition in 2023 election, it would be on record that he spoke against injustice.

Speaking at the event, a visibly enraged Ortom said: “Many have wondered why I have chosen to work with Governor of Rivers state, Nyesom Wike, the big monkey as we call him, in the midst of storm. The man stood with us during our trying times and has continued to be with us till date.

“He has always supported the state during our challenging times, and has made a total donation of N750 million to the state at various times.

“How do you expect me to leave such a person now that he needs us? We speak against injustice, we want equity and fairness. Wrong leadership has led us to where we are today. How much was a dollar, how much was Nigeria regarding security?

“Very soon dollar will exchange for 1000 naira. Nigeria will soon become like Afghanistan, and bandits will take over Aso Villa. And these bandits are no other men than Fulani. What we have in Nigeria today are Fulani bandits.

“Just last week, 18 persons were killed in my village. The previous week, more than 36 were killed in Ukum local government and from Logo, 8 people were also  killed and Atiku will say I am profiling Fulanis. How do you want me to accept Atiku?  To hell with Atiku.

“My people are being killed and you want me to be quiet? My tenure ends in May and you can do whatever you want if you think you have the powers.

“I have written my will. When I gave it to my wife, she cried all night. But if I die at 62, many of my mates have gone long time ago and if I die today, I’m a fulfilled person but let it be recorded that I died resisting the invasion and killing of my people.

“I will never support a Fulani man who thinks speaking against killing of my people is wrong, to become president. If there is another person who is ready to work with me and ensure the security of my people, I will work with him.

“And for those of you who are National Assembly and House of Assembly members and are keeping quiet while your people are being killed, I will begin to pour my venom against you.”

Takes a swipe at Ayu
Ortom who also took a swipe at the PDP national chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, said: “Agreement is agreement. If the national chairman said he would resign if a northerner becomes a candidate, then why is he refusing to resign? Don’t expect me to betray other people just for the sentiment that Ayu is a Tiv man.

“Some people also blackmail me that I was given chairman of zoning committee so I would have zoned the president to south. I was chairman of the zoning committee, but it was not the Working Committee of our party that gave me the position, it was the zoning committee that selected me to lead them and we agreed that the race should be thrown open, but if it is north that won, chairmanship will go to south.”

Wike speaks
Speaking on behalf of the G-5 governors, Governor Wike said they were out to save the country from the present condition of total collapse.

Wike said: “The G-5 are the integrity governors and anyone can challenge us. We have come to give Governor Ortom solidarity support for the flag-off of campaigns in Benue and to tell Benue people that we are with Governor Ortom. Like us or hate us, we are with Ortom. You cannot break us. We are bonded together.

“Leadership is risk taking. Whether you like him or not, Ortom has shown leadership, and you must have to support him all the way.”

He further reiterated his call on Ayu to respect agreements that he would resign if the presidential candidate of the party comes from the north.

Wike called on Nigerians to be wary, saying “those who cannot keep to agreements now that they are yet to go into office even when they enter office they will not keep to agreements or promises.”

Group tasks Wike

Meanwhile, a pro-PDP group under the aegis of Rivers State Democracy Sustainable Group (RSDSG) has challenged Governor Wike to give account of all his recent giveaways to his allies allegedly causing disunity in the main opposition party and other donations.

The group wondered if those giveaways of Rivers state resources were presented to the Rivers state House of Assembly and approved by the lawmakers as party of budgetary allocation.

In a statement signed Monday in Abuja by its Convener, Justin Chibuike, the group said from 2015 till date, Wike “received trillions of Naira from internally Generated Revenue, federal allocations, local and foreign interventions and sales of Rivers State government properties including the gas turbine Rotimi Amaechi acquired from Holland and Saipem; but has not spent one third of these Rivers owned resources.” 

“If the Governor does not speak to Rivers people and hand over their properties back to the state, all these documents will be revealed including sales agreements of these properties both locally and internationally,” they said.

Chibuike said: “The party in its wisdom settled for the former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar for their best interest but the Governor has gone rogue against the party and the presidential candidate. 

“We have realised that the courage to fight an unknown battle has been fully funded by the purse of Rivers State. The Governor in his bid to service the loyalty of the characters masquerading as fighters for justice in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has resulted to throwing Rivers resources into the bellies of the fishes acting as militants in the PDP. 

“Furthermore, the Governor of the state should explain to Rivers people if the monies that he doles out frequently to forces outside Rivers State are duly captured and approved by the Rivers State House of Assembly in the yearly budgets of the state. 

“This is of importance because Rivers people have seen how the Governor went to Lagos State to endorse the APC Governor of the state against his party’s candidate and in so doing donated the sum of N300m to the National women conference organised by the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO) at the Eko Hotels and Suites. 

“Also, we’ve seen in disgust how he attended the birthday party of his ally in Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu and donated the sum of N200m for no just cause. We’ve also seen recently the donation of 25 buses each to both Cross River and Benue states’ PDP. 

“Rivers people are tired and can’t continue in this charade of the governor in his utter wastage that has continually underdeveloped the state where there is serious unemployment and no human capital development or empowerment to enable the youths create meaningful opportunities for themselves to grow the declining state GDP and of course the rising inflation in our dear state. 

“We’ve also seen how about seven international trips of these governors of his are sponsored by the governor at the expense of our state purse to hold secret meetings with political candidates in luxurious hotels for weeks in Europe that adds zero economic benefit to the state.

“It is quite unfortunate that a man who seeks accountability in his party is involved in actions that negate the core values of a just course.  The governor swore an oath to be accountable to Rivers people and we are of this notice asking him to give accounts of his ridiculous spending of state resources. 

“We have uncovered properties owned by the state especially the civil service quarters that is given to his friends and allies who are not Rivers people all to entice their support for his failed presidential bid. We ask, what have the civil servants done to Wike that for seven and half years they’ve not experienced promotion of any sort and that the state secretariat is kept in an unhabitable condition. 

“The governor in one of his many giveaways went to his kinsmen in Ogbumnuabali and doled out a mouth watery sum of N2b for doing nothing absolutely nothing. Such a fund would have been directed to fixing the unhabitable condition of our state secretariat because the civil servants in the state have seen nothing but neglect in Wike’s seven reckless years of mismanagement of state funds,” the group further said.

While demanding for justice on behalf of the Rivers people, the statement said: “As a group we are asking the state governor who is demanding for justice in the party to first serve justice to Rivers people because charity begins at home. He must explain to us for posterity sake. Good men can no longer remain silent in times like this.”

About John Shiaondo, Makurdi and Bode Olagoke, Abuja

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