All may not be well in the camp of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers, who has been calling for the resignation or removal of the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Iyorchia Ayu.
Naija News reports that Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, who has been a senior member of that camp, has denied backing calls for the removal of Ayu.
The Benue 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.
Ortom, in a statement on Monday by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, dismissed insinuations that he was in support of the removal of Ayu.
He stated that he can’t 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.
This is coming as a surprise to many based on the position of his close ally, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike.
Observers are, however, unsure of what Ortom’s latest statement represents, as reports had emerged yesterday claiming the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, and his allies are trying to infiltrate and break up Wike’s group.
According to Ortom, 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.”
Governor Ortom stated that he could not, therefore, turn around to work against him to be removed from office.
He described as mischievous “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”.
The statement said, “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 galvanized 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 a 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 a 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.”