Published On: Wed, Oct 17th, 2018

How Gov. Ortom’s running mate may tear Benue PDP apart

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From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi

All is not well in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Benue State following the endorsement of Engr. Benson Abounu as running mate to the incumbent governor Samuel Ortom.
The governor had, on Monday 15th October, presented his deputy as his running mate during a PDP stakeholders meeting.
The endorsement, Peoples Daily investigation gathered, is causing ripples in the party as its leadership is aggrieved that they were not taken along in the process.
An executive member of the party, who pleaded anonymity, frowned at the way and manner the governor is handling affairs of the party.
He alleged that the governor has completely hijacked the party and is dictating the pace.
“He does not consult with executive of the party; but sits down alone to take decision. He did not even consult us on the issue of his running mate.
What is usually applicable is that once you become a flag bearer, the party leadership automatically takes over in terms of constituting the campaign organization. But in this case, the governor is doing everything alone. He has even gone ahead to appoint himself chairman of his own campaign organization, which is the sole right of the party chairman. We are just onlookers,” he fumed.
Similarly, most party members, particularly from Benue South senatorial district (Idoma land) have expressed disappointment over the endorsement of Abounu who is not liked by his people.
They wondered why the governor would retain him, knowing very well that he lacks the capacity to galvanize support of the people and win election in the area.
“We are not comfortable with Abounu’s emergence as running mate to Governor Ortom. A man who has never won any election, even in his ward. Tell me how can he mobilize the entire Idoma nation to vote for the PDP in 2019?
“This is the beginning of the failure of the party. Some of us have already vowed to work against the party, because we have leaders who do not care about the interest of the party but about their own selfish and pecuniary interest.
Imagine what they did during the primaries which had to be concluded in Makurdi recently. These leaders do not deserve our respect any more,” an anonymous party member fumed.
It should be recalled that Governor Ortom’s return to PDP and his eventual emergence as the party’s governorship flag bearer for the 2019 election has been a source of worry to members of the party, most of whom are still angry with the way he ditch the party after losing nomination and defected to the APC in 2015 to emerge governorship candidate and won the election.
They also, hinged their grievous on the governor’s alleged non performance especially his inability to clear several months of salary arrears owed state and local government workers including pensioners and teachers.
However, media aides of the governor have stoutly defended him, maintaining that in spite of the enormous security challenges he faced in the three (3) years of this government, the administration has done well in the area of education through the construction 774 classroom across the State, award and completion of road project’s, rural electrification as well as drilling of boreholes in several communities in the State.
Meanwhile, the main opposition in the State the All Progressives Congress, APC is also engrossed and battling hard over who emerges as running mate to their Governorship candidate Emmanuel Jime.
The party seems to be caught in a web on who to choose amongst former minister of Niger Delta, Samuel Ode, former senatorial candidate of the party Daniel Onjeh as well as Dickson Akor, National coordinator, Peace Corps as Jime’s running mate.
Speculations are that Jime may go with Daniel Onjeh though the former minister, Ode seem to be the preferred choice by leadership of the party.
This too, if not properly handled may cause disaffection in the party.

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