From right: Governors Nyesom Wike, Aminu Tambuwal, Alh. Abubakar Kawu Baraje, National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Uche Secondus, President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Alh. Sule Lamido, Governors Samuel Ortom, Abdulfatah Ahmed, Senators Barnabas Gemade, Peter Nwoboshi, Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ali Ahmad and other dignitaries after the fidau prayers for Baraje’s mother, Alhaja, Haishah Omoagba Baraje, in Ilorin Wednesday.
After emerging from a brainstorming session with the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Adams Oshimhole, in Abuja, Thursday, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State reversed his earlier decision to quit the ruling party, which he said would have been taken based on the “a red card”, a serving Senator had issued to him to quit before the primaries set in for the 2019 polls.
With the approach of politicking ahead of the 2019 polls, the said Senator George Akume has been tackling Ortom for allegedly sidelining him in the important matters affecting the state.
After holding a meeting with Oshiomhole, Ortom said the party has assured him of his membership and ticket, while denouncing the said senator.
He said: “I was given a red card by a Senator…but the leadership of the party told me that the decision of the party leadership at the national level is superior to any individual and I think that is good enough. We have spoken to him, he has spoken to me, stakeholders are going to be spoken to and that is where I belong. We have not concluded the matter, it is an ongoing process because I have always stood for peace and I always want peace to prevail. I appreciate the intervention and I hope that we would be able to resolve the matter of differences and this is the funny thing about politics. I am here in APC, a member of APC, am still flying the flag of APC and I only said I was given a red card but I have been corrected by the national chairman”, he said.
In his reaction, Oshiomhole said Ortom would not be allowed to return to his former party, the People’s Democratic Party PDP.
He said; “I have, as the National Chairman, assured him that the APC does not have a red card in its cupboard so we cannot give what we do not have and we recognize that in several states, there could be legitimate legal issues, there could be agreements, disagreements, some contestations and these we are familiar with.
“There are evidences of the fact that we are a free democratic party and when leaders have disagreements, our responsibility is to help them to find a common ground and the issues in Benue are not so fundamental that we cannot resolve. We have made it clear that we would resolve them; and Sen. Akume is a very respected leader of the party, a former governor- he will recognize the need for peace and we have what it takes to make peace.
“In Benue, we are going for a win-win solution. Gov. Ortom is not going anywhere; he is a very prominent member of our party. We appreciate his leadership in Benue and we will do everything possible to help those who have issues to have those issues resolved. Anything we would do, we would do, provided the only thing we will not accept is anybody leaving the house that we have built together, that we are committed to and I think the government statement is clear
“Be assured that PDP can go and do whatever they do, it won’t change the minds of those who are convinced about building the future. It would not be without contestations, it will be based on the understanding that we can have contestations, but we have the qualities required to resolve issues. In Benue, those would be deployed and I am sure Gov. Ortom would be happy, Senator Akume would be happy, much more importantly, the great people of Benue state would be happy, not just our party members, because they want to consolidate what works and not to go back to a broken vehicle”, he added
How things play out in the coming weeks, particularly with the ongoing political brinkmanship ahead of electioneering for 2019, cannot be predicted with accuracy.
A day to his meeting with Oshiomhole, Ortom was one of the three governors said to have been won over by the opposition PDP at a meeting in Ilorin, Kwara State, held under cover of a condolence visit to the Alhaji Kawu Baraje, Chairman of nPDP, during the fidau prayers for Baraje’s mother, Alhaja, Haishah Omoagba Baraje, in Ilorin Wednesday. Baraje recently joined the political alliance on 39n parties foemed in Abuja on July 3. The meeting attracted leaders and some key governors of the PDP, some Presidential aspirant on its platform and Governors Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto and Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara. Indeed the meeting was seen as setting the template for the realignment of forces ahead of the 2019 polls. A large number of National Assembly legislators is involved in the move.
Ortom’ statement after his meeting with Oshiomhole is pregnant with meaning: “ We have spoken to him, he has spoken to me, (the ‘red card’ Senator), stakeholders are going to be spoken to and that is where I belong. We have not concluded the matter, it is an ongoing process because I have always stood for peace and I always want peace to prevail”