Benue state governor Samuel Ortom, has said the Dr. Iyorchia Ayu-led national leadership of the People’s Democratic Party should have no one to blame but itself if reconciliation with the G-5 Governors fails.
He noted that arrogance, mischief, and impunity on the part of the party leadership for the delay in resolving the intra-party squabble.
Ortom, who is a leading member of the G-5 governors said this in an interview, on Thursday.
He explained that contrary to speculations in some quarters, the G-5 governors were not at a loss as to their next move but that as loyal party men, they were leaving sufficient room for genuine reconciliation to save the party they’ve all worked so hard to build.
While speaking on his preferred Presidential Candidate for the 2023 elections, Governor Ortom said, if he were not in the PDP, he would have personally led the campaign of the candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi.
He explained that although Obi, like most human beings, was not perfect, he possess the qualities of the kind of leader Nigeria needs at this point in our 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 the election, and they don’t need any other person, it becomes a problem.
But an election cannot be won when the 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 grassroots rotor, 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 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 hailed former President Olusegun Obasanjo for speaking out in the interest of Nigeria’s unity, progress as well as equity, and fairness at every given opportunity.
The Governor noted that the former President made mistakes in the past like everyone else but that he demonstrated commitment to equity in terms of the rotation of power between the North and South.
He particularly praised Obasanjo for endorsing Peter Obi, for the onerous task 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 question- 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.
Why I routed for a Southern Presidential candidate
“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 the third term that came. Otherwise, nobody should contest the integrity and patriotism, forthrightness, and also zeal to see a greater Nigeria more than President Obasanjo.
I’m disappointed with some of my Southern colleagues
“So, you can see 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 elections 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 is PDP? We are just four myself, Tambuwal, Bauchi, and the 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 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 in the North, that look, we have said this thing should go to the south, this is how it should be.
“So, I’m 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.”