Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State on Monday, September 26, 2022, dismissed insinuations that he was in support of the removal of National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Iyorchia Ayu, saying it is impossible for him to advocate the removal of someone he helped to appoint.
Ortom reasserted his confidence in Ayu’s ability to lead the party to victory in next year’s general election, in a surprising contrast to the position of his close ally, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike.
The governor was 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.
But more PDP stakeholders continued to mount pressure on the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to persuade Ayu to resign in the larger interest.
Ortom’s position directly contradicts that of the group he belongs to in PDP, the camp of Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike. The Wike camp’s irreducible minimum condition for resolution of the crisis that started after he was by-passed for Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in the selection of presidential running mate was Ayu’s ouster.
The group, which Ortom is an active member of, has for months insisted that Ayu must resign for a southerner to occupy the PDP chairmanship post.
Observers are, however, unsure of what Ortom’s latest statement represents, even as the Wike camp continues to dig its heels in, maintaining that Ayu must go.