Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has declared that the People’s Democratic Party’s national leadership, led by Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, should blame itself if reconciliation with the G-5 Governors fails.
He blamed the delay in resolving the intra-party conflict on the party leadership’s hubris, mischief, and impunity.
Ortom, a member of the G-5 governors, stated this in an interview on Thursday.
He explained that, contrary to popular belief, the G-5 governors were not at a loss for what to do next, but that as committed party men, they were leaving enough ground for genuine reconciliation to sustain the party they had all worked so hard to build.
Governor Ortom stated that if he had not been a member of the PDP, he would have personally headed the campaign of the Labour Party’s candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, in the 2023 elections.
He explained that, while Obi, like most people, is not perfect, he possesses the traits of the type of leader Nigeria requires at this juncture in its history.
While speaking on the crisis within the PDP, Ortom said, “I think we are on course as far as I’m concerned with our group. As faithful party men, we have given enough time.
“And we are told that the failed leadership at the national level will take advantage of the opportunity we have given them to address those issues.
“There are many ways of addressing issues even when you are not able to meet the demands of a group or individuals, you will find a way of meeting.
“I will quote (former military) President Babangida who said ‘a little to the left, a little to the right.’ Then you find the meeting place.
“Where people decide to be arrogant, where they decide to be mischievous, and do things as if the other person does not exist and try to do some things with impunity, as if they have won election, and they don’t need any other person, it becomes a problem.
“But election cannot be won when ballot is not cast. Because I know, as a veteran politician of over 40 years, most of these key actors you see today in politics, when it comes to the School of Politics, they are my subjects.
“You know, the good thing about someone like me is that I started from the grassroot and I built myself from that level and I have gotten to where I am today.”
He said further, “So, arrogance, impunity, mischief, will not really help matters. One will expect that humility, it is said that you stoop down to conquer even if you want to make it, above all, politics is a game of interests.”
The Governor praised former President Olusegun Obasanjo for always speaking out in the sake of Nigeria’s unity, progress, equity, and justice.
The Governor remarked that the former President, like everyone else, made mistakes in the past, but that he displayed a dedication to equity in terms of power rotation between the North and South.
He complimented Obasanjo in particular for endorsing Peter Obi for the difficult responsibility of providing leadership for Nigeria at this time.
Ortom said, “So, here is someone that is looking ahead and wants the best for our country, Nigeria. Today, he has recommended Peter Obi.
“I seriously want Nigerians…Honestly, if I were not in PDP, I would have been the one at the forefront of carrying Peter Obi’s bag and campaigning for him. Because so far, he is the best material.
“He is what this country needs to get things right. Somebody with clean records. That is not a questioned- nobody is perfect.
“Nobody is God, no human being is God. But here is somebody who has distinguished himself.
“So, if I were to offer advice on the best material for president, I will tell you that it is Peter Obi. But it is just that I’m a PDP. I’m handicapped. Honestly, that is my candidate. I tell you the truth.
“It is not new to anybody for me in particular a 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.
“Eight years of President Buhari. It is just natural fair, that it will go to the south. And that is why I commend and appreciate President Olusegun Obasanjo, a great patriot.
“He made some mistakes, especially on the issue of third term that came. Otherwise, nobody should contest the integrity and the patriotism, forthrightness and also the zeal to see a greater Nigeria more than President Obasanjo.
I’m disappointed with some of my Southern colleagues
“So, you can see that what is happening, my colleagues in G5, we all PDP members are most of us are contesting the election, except our chairman, Governor Wike. I am the leader but we have a chairman, who is not contesting election that is very passionate about the issues.
“But you see, I must say that I’m disappointed with some of PDP Southern Governors who chickened out, who sold out and chose to do something else.
“In the APC, all the governors in the north, they have a majority. How many of us here in the north are PDP? We are just four myself, Tambuwal, Bauchi and Governor of Taraba.
“But you see APC, I must commend them for fighting for equity, fairness and justice, because they considered that the presidency should go to the south.
“Because mind you, Nigeria is a country with multiple ethnic groups, multiple religion, and multiple sentiments that at all times, we must be sensitive to ensure that we harness and try to marry all this 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 as you see me because for me, when the Southern governors met and say, Look, we demand that 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.”
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