Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has refused to openly declare support for the presidential bid of the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and his running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.
Ortom, during an interview on Arise TV on Wednesday, dropped some conditions that need to be met before he can declare support for the former vice president.
According to Ortom, Atiku needs to reach out to his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Wike, who was backed to be his(Atiku) running mate by the majority of the PDP committee members who had recommended Wike and not Okowa.
Although Ortom noted that he respects Atiku’s choice and has no problem with Okowa, the Benue governor said that Wike, as well as some of the committee members, deserve a detailed explanation from Atiku over the vice-presidential ticket slot.
Ortom who expressed shock that Atiku ditched the recommendation of 14 out of 17 members of the committee set up by the party’s National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, that recommended Wike as his running mate added that has gone into hibernation, too fast and pray for God’s direction on whether to support his party man or not.
“I told you I am praying. I have gone into hibernation and I am fasting and praying. So, in the end, if God directs me to support Atiku, why should I not do it? After all, he is my party man.
“But I am waiting for him (Atiku) because there are more things he is expected to do. I expected him to reach out to Wike who came second and he denied him the popular view of PDP members. 14 out of 17 members say that Wike should be the VP but in his wisdom, he chose Governor Okowa. Governor Okowa is a nice man and my friend and I have no problem with him. But if we are in a democratic era, and 14 people out of 17 said that it should be Wike, and he (Atiku) in his wisdom gave it to Okowa, I expect more explanation, I expect him to talk to Wike first, I expect him to even reach out to some of us so that together we can work as a party.
“But the bottom line for me is that I have gone into hibernation and I am praying and at the end, whatever God directs me, I can assure you that I will do it.”
Ortom’s revelation coincided with that of the former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, who openly declared support for a southern Presidency despite the fact that his party, the PDP, is fielding Atiku, a northerner, as its flagbearer for the 2023 presidential election.
“The current President of Nigeria is a two-term northern Presidency, thus implying that it must be a southern Presidency in 2023 or nothing,” Fayose tweeted on Wednesday.
“Awa ‘South’ lo kan’. Nigerians should await details soon,” he added.
As of the time of filing this report, it is unclear if Fayose is declaring support for the ruling All Progressives Congress and the Labour Party’s flagbearers, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu or Peter Obi, who are both southerners.