Barely 24 hours after his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Wike, made his stance clear, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has also left presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, in the lurch.
Ortom said yesterday that for Atiku to appoint members of his campaign team in his state without informing him, he is on his own waiting, but when the election comes “we will win according to the election.”
Wike had on Monday declared that he will not campaign for the PDP standard bearer because he did not consult him before picking members of his campaign council from the state.
He explained that Atiku’s photos and those of PDP national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, are missing in the party’s campaign materials in the state because they don’t want him to campaign for the party at the national level.
Toeing Wike’s path, Ortom said he has chosen to stay aloof from Atiku’s presidential bid, even as he demanded an unreserved apology from the former vice president over profane statement allegedly made against him.
Ortom Dumps Atiku
Governor Ortom who was reacting to the comments making the rounds on the social media about hate speech the PDP presidential candidate made against him during a media parley in Kaduna and the derogatory condolence message he send to the people of Gbeji where the herders attacked and killed over 36 persons lamented that such utterance should not have come from someone seeking to rule the people.
Ortom stated this at Government House Makurdi during a thanksgiving service at the Chapel of Grace to mark the end of a 30-day fasting and prayers organised by the the Chaplaincy.
Indicating his resolve not to support Atiku, the governor decried a situation where the PDP presidential candidate appointed people in the state as members of his campaign team without his consent.
He said, “What Atiku said about us in Gbeji in respect of the recent massacre by the marauding herdsmen was not correct. Look at the sympathy message coming from the presidency calling on security personnel to apprehend the perpetrators of the dastardly act and the one sent by our presidential candidate, calling for integration so that there will be no more killings. How can such statements come from someone seeking to rule the people?
“It appears that the PDP presidential candidate does not even recognise me as the governor of Benue State because I am not even on his campaign team. He appointed some people in my state as members of his campaign team without my consent.
“So, for me, I am on my own waiting, when election comes we shall win according to the election”.
The governor also explained that tendering public apology would have been enough to placate the people, noting that angry reaction of the Benue people back home would not have been necessary if the presidential candidate had heeded to his wise counsel to quickly make public apology when his careless statement was made public.
He stated that by making those statements, Atiku appears to be working with Miyetti Allah because he used same the language the Fulani sociocultural organisations had been using against him.
Ortom exonerated himself from allegations that he profiled Fulani who are bonafide citizens of the country, noting that he had always been clear about Fulani from other countries, including Niger, Senegal, Mali and Chad, who have vowed to take over Nigeria to become their own country.
*Wike Lied On Composition Of PDP Campaign Council – Spokesman*
Meanwhile, spokesman of the PDP presidential campaign council in Rivers State, Dr Leloonu Nwibubasa, has accused Governor Nyesom Wike of misleading the people of the state over his scuffle with the leadership of the party.
Nwibubasa, a former commissioner under the Wike-led administration, was reacting to the statement made by the governor during the inauguration of the State PDP campaign office in Port Harcourt on Monday.
He said it was not true that the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, did not reach out to him for nominations into the PDP presidential campaign council, pointing out that Wike denied the state more representation in the campaign council by refusing to send his list of nominees.
The former commissioner said, “It wasn’t correct for Governor Wike to claim that the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, did not reach out to him to send nominees from the state to the Presidential Campaign Council of the party.
“Rather, it is the governor that denied Rivers people more representation in the campaign council by refusing to send in nominees.
“Again, Rivers People will not be deceived or hoodwinked to support any other Presidential candidate apart from Atiku Abubakar on the basis of Governor Wike’s twisted ‘state interest’.
“It is in public domain that no other Presidential candidate has the interest of Rivers State at heart like Atiku Abubakar. Atiku’s businesses in the state has provided more jobs in Rivers State and trained over seven hundred thousand people in Rivers State in various skills and craft.
“His investments has created wealth and boost the economy of the state . He is a friend of Rivers People, that’s the reason despite Gov Wike’s antagonism he still appointed many very credible Rivers sons into his Presidential Campaign Council.
“It is a great surprise and also of grave concern that Governor Wike openly declared our leaders, fathers and kinsmen ‘enemies of the state’ for their decision to support our party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
“Rivers people must recall that few months ago, the same ‘enemies of the state’ traversed the length and breath of this country risking their lives on land and in the air to help Governor Wike in his ill-fated presidential bid.
“They gave their best. If their best could not push Governor Wike through, should they also join Governor Wike to destroy the party that made them, with Governor Wike being the highest beneficiary?
*PDP Holds Rally In Rivers January 16*
Despite the refusal of Rivers State governor to support the campaign of the PDP presidential candidate, the party’s campaign council has fixed January 16, next year, to hold its rally in the state.
This is contained in a timetable released by the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Council on its remaining activities for the 2023 general polls.
According to the timetable, Atiku will address the Commonwealth of Nations in the United Kingdom on October 27.
The presidential election is billed to hold on Saturday, February 25, 2023, the same day with the Senatorial and House of Representatives elections.
In the document containing Atiku’s presidential campaign activities, the candidate would on October 27, address the Commonwealth of Nations in the United Kingdom.
On Tuesday, November 1, 2022, it would be the turn of Ekiti State, while the campaign rally in Ondo State would hold on Wednesday November 2.
On Saturday, November 5, the campaign train will berth in Katsina State and proceed to Borno State on Wednesday, November 9. Gombe State will host the party on Thursday, November 10.
Next stop would be Kebbi State on Saturday November 12, and later Zamfara State on Sunday, November 13.
Kwara State in the North Central will be playing host to the PDP team on Monday, November 14, while the team will be in Lagos State for Lagos Business School Lecture on Tuesday, November 15.
On Wednesday, November 16, Ogun State will host the team which proceed to Lagos State the next day, Thursday, November 17.
On Friday November 18, Atiku Abubakar and his team will be in Abuja for the Birthday Dinner of the National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, while the campaign rally in Jigawa State is scheduled to hold on Saturday November 19.
Kano State will have its turn as host on Sunday, November 20, while the party train will be in Ebonyi State on Wednesday, November 23, Enugu State on Thursday 24, and the team will then move to Osun State for the swearing-in ceremony of the Governor elect of the state, Senator Ademola Adeleke, who won the election under the PDP.
The PDP presidential campaign resumes in Oyo State on Monday December 5, and goes back to Osun State for campaign rally on Tuesday December 6, then move to Nasarrawa State on Thursday, December 8.
It would be the turn of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Saturday, December 10 and that of Plateau State is scheduled for Monday, December 12.
On Tuesday, December 13, the campaign rally will hold in Benue State, while it would be the turn of Anambra State on Thursday, December 15.
The PDP standard bearer and his team would travel to Uyo in Akwa Ibom State where the campaign began, on Friday December 16, for the state’s annual Christmas Carol and end the campaign for the year 2022, in Imo State on Saturday December 17.
The campaign rally resumes in the election year of 2023 on Saturday, January 14 in Kogi State and moves to Rivers State on Monday, January 16.
That of Cross River State is scheduled for Tuesday, January 17, while the team would be in Delta State on Tuesday January 24 for project commissioning, while the campaign rally for the state holds the following day, January 25.
Sokoto State would play host to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his team on Saturday February 28.
The last leg of the campaign rally is scheduled for Taraba State on Wednesday, February 1, while the Grand Finale of the PDP Presidential Campaign Rally would hold in Adamawa State, the home state of its standard bearer, Atiku, on Thursday, January 2.
*Tinubu Tackles Obaseki Over Break-up Comment*
Meanwhile, presidential candidate if the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, yesterday lost his cool and descended verbally on Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, describing him as an “irresponsible”, “reckless” and “toxic” character who is not fit to be in the office he is currently occupying.
Obaseki had on Monday, while swearing in members of Edo State PDP campaign council management committee, incurred the wrath of Tinubu and his party when he warned that Nigeria will break up if APC wins the 2023 presidential election.
Apparently milfed by the governor’s utterances, Tinubu who described Obaseki as the “Judas of our time” said the governor’s day of reckoning with the masses was coming.
Tinubu spoke through the spokesmen of Tinubu/Shetimma Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo (SAN) and Bayo Onanuga.
Keyamo who is the director of Public Affairs and chief spokesperson of the campaign council noted in a statement that the APC campaign team was shocked by Obaseki’s “shallowness of thinking”, even as he said the governor’s comment has confirmed that he is one of those in PDP misleading its presidential candidate and the opposition party towards inevitable electoral doom.
The minister of State for Labour and Productivity stated: “This is coming from a Governor who turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the outrageous and divisive statement made by his presidential candidate in Kaduna a few days ago calling for Northerners not to vote for Yoruba or Igbo candidates.
“This is also coming from a Governor who has so far callously, heartlessly, and undemocratically “broken up” his own State by denying many constituencies of adequate representation in the Edo State House of Assembly by denying the members of their right to take their seats, even though the members were duly elected. ”
“By making this abhorrent statement, Obaseki has clearly shown that he must be one of the elements within his Party not only misleading his candidate and party but also enabling them towards inevitable electoral doom. This is to our delight, but we worry that if elected, they will inflict the same divisive spirit on our country as a whole.”
Asking Obaseki to apologize to the Edo people, Keyamo said, “We are shocked by the shallowness of thinking, the sheer temerity, and the obfuscating arrogance that pushed Governor Godwin Obaseki to make such an outrageous statement against the APC.
“We call on Governor Obaseki to apologize to the people of Edo State, to the people of the Southern region, and to Nigerians as a whole for making such an insensitive and reckless statement in the face of PDP’s insensitivity to the principle of power rotation in the country. Certainly, the day of reckoning with the masses is coming for the likes of the Judas of our time, Governor Godwin Obaseki!”
On his part, Bayo Onanuga who is the director of Media and Publicity of the Tinubu/Shetimma Campaign Council said the Edo governor’s outburst showed he is not fit for the role he currently occupies in the state.
Onanuga said, “For a man who swore an oath of allegiance to the sovereignty and unity of Nigeria to be a purveyor of ill-will towards the same country because of partisan politics smirks of total irresponsibility and recklessness unbecoming of a governor who has a constitutionally sanctioned duty to preserve the unity and indivisibility of Nigeria.
“It is worth stating that we are not in any way surprised about Obaseki’s outburst about Nigeria’s breaking. He is, by nature, a divisive, obnoxious and toxic human being that lacks the introspection and contemplation expected of a person occupying the office of a governor. He is obviously a man bereft of any iota of emotional intelligence and perhaps a misfit for the role he currently occupies.
“Obaseki should know by now that Nigerians do not want to have anything to do with his party and Atiku. And the signs are there for all to see: Obaseki’s PDP cannot even rescue itself from internal implosion. Nigeria remains secure in the hands of our party APC. And the future is even brighter with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima.”