I supported Wike to be Atiku’s running mate – Gov. Samuel Ortom

I supported Wike to be Atiku’s running mate – Gov. Samuel Ortom

The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, said on Thursday he supported his River State counterpart, Nyesom Wike, to be the party’s vice presidential candidate in the 2023 general elections.

The governor, who stated this when he featured in a Channels Television programme, Politics Today, said Wike was the choice of a committee put together by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to pick a running mate for its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

He added that 14 out of 17 members of the committee chose the Rivers State governor because of his endearing qualities.

He, however, expressed disappointment that Wike was not consulted by Abubakar before the announcement of the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate.

Samuel Ortom

Ortom said: “We convinced him (Wike) to be VP. He didn’t want to. 17 of us met. 14 said it should be Wike, for things to move forward in the party. So, I stood with Wike, because of the contribution he made to the party. He convinced me to return to PDP. We have to put all of that aside for the party to move forward.

“It was the prerogative of the presidential candidate, but he asked us to advise him. He could have done like he did in 2019 when he picked Obi. But he brought all of us together – former governors and Board of Trustee (BoT) members. 14 people chose someone. If we’re being Democratic 14 out of 17 is good enough to make a decision.”

The governor also advised Abubakar to reach out to Wike and placate him on his non-selection as running mate.

He added: “Wike is a human being. He fought to keep this party together. He could have been called immediately after the selection

“The choice is the right of the candidate. But moving forward, Wike should be reached.

“In politics, the majority will always have their way, the minority will have a say.”

On whether he’ll support Abubakar, Ortom quipped: “I’m confused about what is happening in Nigeria today. I’m in hibernation. I’m praying for direction.

“Atiku is the presidential candidate of the PDP. I’m a member of the PDP. What else can I do? I believe the presidential candidate and the party leadership will reach out to him (Wike)

“The party is still very intact, depending on what the party leadership does. The situation of the country requires that we bury our personal interests. PDP internal situation is a family affair.”

The PDP has been hit by a crisis since the end of its presidential primary held on May 28 with many key members unhappy with the party leadership on how the choice of running mate for the presidential candidate was handled.

The bickering generated by the emergence of Okowa as the vice presidential candidate has degenerated into a full-blown disagreement among party leaders with some demanding the resignation of the party’ National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu.

Some party leaders and governors including Ortom and former Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, have also taken side with Wike.

Fayose had on Wednesday demanded a power shift to the South.