Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state has explained that the call by the G-5 Governors and stakeholders on the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr Iyorchia Ayu to resign was premised on the earlier commitment he made to the party and Nigerians.
It would be recalled that a group of five PDP Governors known as the G-5, including Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state, Seyi Makinde of Oyo and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia state as well as leading party members and former governors have since the emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the Presidential candidate of the party insisted on the resignation of the National Chairman.
They maintained that it was against the zoning principle of the party to have the National Chairman and presidential candidate of the party from the same geopolitical zone of the country.
Dr Ayu has however remained dogged, insisting that he would serve out his time as Chairman since he was elected for a four tenure.
Speaking on the matter weekend in Makurdi, Governor Ortom clarified that the embattled National Chairman had given his words to the party and Nigerians in general that he would step aside if a presidential candidate of northern extraction emerged from the national convention of the party.
He said it behoved the National Chairman to keep his word and by so doing maintain his integrity and by extension respect the zoning arrangement of the party.
Governor Ortom also advised that in the alternative the National Chairman should appeal to members to allow him carry on rather than sounding adamant over the matter.
Hear him, “when a child defecates on your lap, you do not cut off the leg, you clean it up or wash it off and move on. The issue is that the PDP leadership has failed. But for me, I have not called for the removal of the National Chairman because he comes from where I come from. But I have said that the leadership including the National Chairman have failed in solving the problem and I have advised them adequately.
“When members of the Board of Trustees came to me I told them what they needed to do and I also told the National Chairman what he needed to do. I cannot go to the extreme level of calling for his removal but I call on him to do the right thing, to do the needful which has not been done, which is wrong.
“That is why I keep saying that the party has not been able to deploy its internal conflict resolution mechanism to solve this problem. If they do it we can all flow and work together, but sidelining people and thinking that you are there and nothing can stop you, is what is creating problems.
“So for me, there is still time, the party can work it out. I am in the G‐5 but because the Chairman is from my state I decided to keep quiet I have advised him on what to do. He should be happy that I am in the G-5 which Governor Wike is the leader. He should be happy that I get information from there and give it to him.
“If he takes my advice fine, but if he doesn’t that’s fine too the right thing has to be done to give all comfort because whatever is the demand of Wike today nobody can blame him. The Chairman himself promised that he would resign if a Northern presidential candidate emerged; has a northern candidate not emerged?
“So why is he not coming out? And I have offered two things, it’s either you resign or plead and beg the people why you should continue as National Chairman because you said it yourself, nobody compelled you.
“The National Chairman told the whole world that he would resign if a northern candidate emerged and today a northern candidate has emerged. So the question I am asking is where is your integrity if you don’t resign?
“But there are many ways of doing it, if you plead, if you beg, if you seek for the understanding of the people to accept you the way you are so that we run towards election it is still okay. But the onus is on you to convince them and not to say that you have a four-year tenure. Who compelled you to say that you will resign if the presidential candidate comes from the north? I chose to keep quiet but that does not mean I am against what my colleagues are saying.”