Wike: Governor Ortom Backs PDP Iyorchia Ayu Chairmanship

By Damilare Adeleye

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has denied supporting calls from some quarters demanding for the resignation of the People's Democratic Party Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu.

The Nigerian Voice understands that the camp of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers including some governors has been calling for the resignation of chairman in order to balance power within party leadership.

However, Governor Ortom of Benue, who has been a senior member of that camp, in a statement, denied backing calls for the removal of Ayu.

In a statement issued on Monday by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, the governor dismissed insinuations that he was in support of the removal of Ayu.

While stating that he can’t advocate the removal of someone he helped to appoint, Ortom reaffirmed 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.

Ortom 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.”

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”.

Parts of the statement read, “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.”