Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, has played down insinuations that he is in support of the removal of the National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Iyorchia Ayu, stating that it is impossible for him to advocate the removal of someone he helped to appoint.
This is nevertheless in contrast to his earlier position for the demands made by his close friend and Rivers State helmsman Nyesom Wike that Ayu be dismissed as the chairman of the party. Ortom is part of the Wike camp that has demanded for the removal of Ayu, a Northerner after Atiku Abubakar who is also a northerner emerged the party’s presidential candidate. Wike and his group insists that Ayu cannot remain in office since the party’s presidential flagbearer is of Northern extraction.
Thisday reports that in a statement released by his media aide, Nathaniel Ikyur, the governor distanced himself from the calls for Ayu’s removal while reacting to accusations by a group, Jemgbagh Development Association, that he was involved in the ouster moves against the PDP national chairman, a fellow Benue man.
The governor said it was an open secret that he worked tirelessly, alongside other prominent Benue citizens, to ensure that Ayu was elected “as the national chairman of our great party even against all odds.”
To this extent, the statement said, “The governor could not, therefore, turn around to work against him to be removed from office.”
He described as mischievous the allegations by ”an amorphous, little known group parading itself as Jemgbagh Development Association, Abuja chapter” that he has a hand in Ayu’s current travails”.
Ortom maintained that with the backing of many leaders of the PDP, who believed his sense of judgment, they worked relentlessly in the run-up to the party’s national convention to market Ayu as having the requisite capacity to lead PDP, especially, in the 2023 general election.
“Governor Ortom vouched for the integrity and capacity of Dr Iyorchia Ayu to lead and rebuild the PDP to victory and rescue Nigeria from the misrule of the APC maladministration. That is why Ayu was returned unopposed by the northern caucus of the party and got elected as the national chairman of the PDP at the party’s convention.
Where was Jemgbagh Development Association, when Governor Ortom galvanised support from across the leaders of the party to make Dr. Ayu PDP’s National Chairman? What was their contribution to that project that they now want to use clannish stance to blackmail the governor?”
He further described as laughable how “this amorphous and emergency Jemgbagh Development Association, Abuja, which has never been heard of before, is now masquerading as the voice of Jemgbagh to embark on campaign of calumny against Governor Ortom, who has worked selflessly for the people of Benue State.
“Governor Ortom is more Jemgbagh than most of the people claiming it now. This is fact, because he has done more for Jemgbagh, both in terms of appointments and projects executed as well as patronage in the area, than even one of the Jemgbagh sons, who was governor. Besides, Governor Ortom has consistently worked for the unity of Benue State and will never stand in the way of any of her citizens, either here in the state or in the diaspora
For those, who claimed to be leaders of this Jemgbagh Development Association, Abuja, we urge them to be truly developmental in their drive to build cohesion among the people and attract real development to their area rather than engaging in mischief or blackmail.”