In what was indicative of cracks within the ranks of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, yesterday, said he was still undecided about his support for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, because it was a decision that would be informed by the leading of the spirit.
Ortom, who declared that his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Wike, was badly treated by the party leadership, however, sought the possibility of a meeting between Atiku and Wike, where the issue currently creating a gulf in the party would be addressed completely.
Ortom, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governor, who spoke on the Morning Show of ARISE NEWS Channel, said the PDP leaders badly treated Wike by choosing Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State as the vice-presidential candidate of PDP, instead of Wike whom 14 out of 17 PDP members, voted for as their preferred choice.
But the key reason among others, was feeling among many northern leaders that Wike was anti-north and that it may be too risky to have him as the vice president given what they interpreted to be his anti-northern stance which they believe would strip north of resources.
The issue of VAT which Wike championed was cited as example and became a key albatross against him. The aggressive manner he championed the VAT issue ruffled a lot of feathers in the North.
Taking away VAT from federal control as you know would be detriment to many Northern States – only two states like Lagos and Rivers would be the greatest beneficiaries. Many northern states would simply go bankrupt.
The northern leaders of thought read Wike’s position on this key issue to be anti-north and where therefore not happy with him.
However, speaking further on the issue, Ortom said the party needed to consult more to appease those, who have been offended by the PDP leaders, adding also that, Nigerians must come together to salvage the country, stressing that he could not glibly declare his support for Atiku’s presidential bid, despite being from the same party except he heard from God.
Explaining why he has held back his support for Atiku, Ortom said, “I was among the 17-member committee set up by Atiku and 14 of us in the committee said the person should be Wike. Unfortunately, Atiku picked Okowa. That is his wisdom. You cannot ignore decision of a committee you set up yourself and expect people to be happy. For now, I have gone into hibernation.
“I am in hibernation. I am praying. When I finish the prayers and whatever God directs me, I will do. We expect Atiku to do more but we are not seeing that. They should stop that. Atiku should go to him (Wike). Why won’t he ignore their calls. Is that not an insult? Wike is a pillar in the party.
“Currently, Nobody in the party has contributed more for the party to move forward than Wike. If Atiku was not going to honour the decision of the committee, he should have called Wike earlier and informed him. He didn’t do that. You can’t do things anyhow and expect us to be happy.”
Atiku’s spokesperson, Paul Ibe, said his principal and the party would continue to appeal to aggrieved persons within their fold to embrace dialogue.
“Because the bigger challenge is winning the election, kicking out the APC and stopping them from the many years of impoverishing our people. It is normal for our people to be aggrieved but the PDP has a way of resolving issues like this and that will be done and we all shall be happy,” he said.