PDP: Those calling for Ortom’s suspension do worse anti-party activities
Re- Evoke the Constitution of our Party to Save it From Total Collapse in Benue State
1. We read with dismay a purported petition from a faceless and unscrupulous group under the aegis of PDP Foundation, calling for the suspension of the immediate past Governor of Benue State and Leader of the Party in the State, His Excellency, Chief Samuel Ortom.
2. The faceless group in their ill-fated petition to the acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, also apportioned blames on chief Ortom on the poor outing of the PDP presidential candidate in the last election, Alhaji Atiku Abubarkar and their suspected sponsor, the party’s Senatorial candidate for Benue North East Senatorial Zone , Sen. Gabriel Suswam.
3. Ordinarily, we wouldn’t be wasting our precious time and energy to respond to a faceless group with a clandestine agenda but to set the records straight and put things in their proper perspective for the benefit of unsuspecting members of the public, we are oblige to respond.
4. Contrary to claims by the pseudo group that Governor Ortom refused to support Alhaji Atiku after he emerged Presidential candidate of the PDP for the 2023 presidential election, Chief Ortom had on Monday July 25th, 2022 during an expanded stakeholders meeting in Makurdi, Benue State said, “I will not contradict Atiku on what he said; he is my candidate and I am behind him. Whatever happens in the course of the primaries and nomination of the presidential running mate is past and gone “. PDP is a strong institution and family and we will always settle our matters in-house”.
5. From Ortom’s comment in July , 2022, he was willing to work for Atiku as presidential candidate of PDP.
Why Atiku Lost Benue in 2023
6. First and foremost, both Atiku and Suswam’s poor outings in Benue in the last elections were self-inflicted. It was very glaring that Benue PDP under the leadership of the same Samuel Ortom who gave Atiku overwhelming victory in 2019 were no longer comfortable with Alhaji Atiku’s comments and position on the Fulani killings in Gbeji and other parts of Benue in 2023 but Suswam who championed Atiku’s campaign in Benue deliberately refused to read the handwriting on the wall .
7. On the 25th of October, 2022, Gbeji community and indeed Benue people rejected Alh. Atiku’s condolence message to Benue which he sent after Fulani herdsmen unleashed mayhem on Gbeji describing it as mockery. That was an absolute vote of no confidence passed on Atiku!
8. Atiku’s message read in parts “When our people are well integrated into communities where they live, work, pay taxes and raise their children, they’d be obligated to reciprocate the love and acceptance. My deepest condolences to the families that may have lost a loved one and to the people and government of Benue State.”
9.To the people of Benue, Atiku’s message was interpreted to mean that, peace could only return to Benue State if Fulani herdsmen are allowed to move freely with their cows to practice open grazing. In essence, until Benue people allow cows to move through their farms, destroying crops, there won’t be peace in the state.
10. Similarly, in October , 2022 , Alhaji Atiku Abubakar while delivering a speech at Arewa House in Kaduna when he met with the Arewa Consultative Forum , (ACN), Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP) and Sir Ahmadu Bello Foundation (ABF) said “I am angry with Samuel Ortom for profiling Fulanis as bandits and terrorist”. This was a lie by Atiku to set Ortom up for hatred before his Fulani brothers. It is on record that Chief Ortom had previously referred to former Presidents Shehu Shagari and Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua as good Fulani people who were fair to all. Also, in 2021, Ortom while addressing journalists in the state capital, Makurdi on the state of insecurity in the state said, “We are not against any tribe, especially the Fulani people, but rather against terrorists, killer herdsmen, bandits, kidnappers and all types of criminals within the state”.
11. It is also on record that Alhaji Atiku sidelined Chief Ortom, the then governor and leader of the party in Benue State, while constituting his presidential campaign council in September, 2022.
12. Suswam who championed Atiku’s campaign in Benue has his share of the blame. He was heard on several campaign grounds saying “the Israelites while they suffered from snake bites in the bible made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who was bitten by snake looked at it and lived.” This statement did not go down well with Benue people because Suswam knew Atiku was a snake yet, wanted them to gamble their future. He suffered the spill over effect of the people’s anger on Atiku.
13. Despite all the ill-treatment and uncharitable actions of the PDP Presidential candidate, Chief Ortom did not declare for any other presidential candidate. He explored all the internal dispute resolution mechanisms (IDRM) of the PDP and all his attempts to make the leadership of the party at the national level see reason for unity and harmony fell on deaf ears before he publicly declared for Peter Obi of Labour Party (LP) in February, 2023.
Between Atiku, Suswam and Ortom, who should be suspended in PDP?
14. On August 31, 2013, at Eagle Square, Abuja, during the PDP national convention to elect national officials of the party, Alhaji Atiku sensing imminent defeat of his preferred aspirants, staged a walk-out with 7 Governors, a former national chairman of the PDP, Abubakar Baraje, National Assembly members and delegates from seven states (Rivers, Adamawa, Niger, Sokoto, Kano, Kwara and Jigawa), to hold their own convention. That was the day PDP lost the 2015 general elections as Atiku’s move later merged with the APC with PDP governors, 37 House of Representatives members, including the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal and over 20 Senators.
15. In a similar vein, Chief Samuel Ortom, the then Minister of States for Industry, Trade and Investment and supervising Minister of Aviation was the most popular PDP aspirant in the build up to the 2015 governorship election in Benue State. Governor Suswam, for reasons only known to him, outrightly declared that he did not know who would win the PDP primaries but he knew who would lose and that person was no other than Samuel Ortom. Ortom was chased out of PDP and that led to the party losing the 2015 election in Benue State with Suswam himself losing his Senatorial election.
16. However, Ortom in his benevolence and love for PDP left APC in July, 2018 and returned to PDP. Ortom’s return was the main reason Suswam won the 2019 Senatorial election to represent Benue North East Senatorial district.
17. At the burial of prominent PDP chieftain in Ushongo , late Chief Akua Aku in July, 2023, Senator Suswam declared publicly that Benue people should support Governor Alia of APC, noting that Alia’s victory was divine and for the good of Benue State. This was while his party and its governorship candidate, Rt. Hon. Titus Uba were still in court challenging the declaration of Alia as governor of Benue State. If that was not an anti-party act, nothing else can be.
18. Suswam on several occasions during and after the PDP case against Governor Alia is seen frolicking and hobnobbing with the governor and publicly showering encomiums on the governor not minding the feelings of members of his party, but it is a crime to the ill- fated PDP Foundation for Ortom to call on Nigerians to support President Tinubu to succeed.
19. Ortom’s offence, according to the pseudo group, is his resolve to support the Labour Party’s Presidential candidate in the 2023 presidential election, but the same Peter Obi has become a beautiful bride to Atiku Abubabar who is being courted by the 2023 presidential candidate of the PDP for an alliance ahead of 2027.
20. We advise the ill-motivated and ill-sponsored PDP Foundation to as a matter of urgency, rather call for the suspension of Senator Suswam and Atiku Abubakar, if there still exists any modicum of conscience in them.
21. We also use this opportunity to call on those who are not satisfied with Ortom’s leadership to come out and stop hiding under pseudo groups to attack the former governor.
22. Finally, we call on the leadership of the PDP both at the national and state levels and the general public to disregard the divisive tendencies and desperate moves of the apostles of hell masquerading under the toga of a fictitious group (PDP Foundation). We are not oblivious of their sponsors. We know their motives and antics .
Hon. Simon Ashinjo
Benue Integrity Group, BIG.
Hon. Ogwuche Adanwo
Vice – President
Hon. Aondohemba Mnyim Secretary