Benue 2019: Ortom battles for survival

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has been facing tough political battle that may make or mar his political career. The embattled Benue Governor has been considering option of seeking the ticket of another political party for the 2019 governorship election for his survival and abandoning the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for his political godfather, Senator George Akume, who brought him to power in 2015.

Ortom’s indication of his intention to dump the APC signified the depth of the political war raging between him and the godfather. The revelation also had a function of notifying the political parties the governor has been negotiating with for defection  that he is willing and prepared to leave the ruling APC. The negotiations have not been smooth for the governor as party leaders appear to be skeptical about his political capital to deliver the mandate of the people to the party in the state.

Governor Ortom was gathered to have approached the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to negotiate his return to the party. He was said to have met with Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and few other PDP leaders, including the State Chairman in Benue, who were gathered to have accepted his request but told him that he would have to contest the party’s primary election with other aspirants for the 2019 governorship ticket.  The governor wanted automatic ticket for re-election in 2019 but the PDP leaders insisted that there will be no automatic ticket.

National Daily gathered that Governor Ortom has also been holding consultations with the Social Democratic Party (SDP), extending to the African Democratic Congress (ADC) to negotiate his defection and guarantee for automatic ticket for the 2019 governorship election. Reliable sources revealed that the Benue governor does not want to go through primary election and is prepared to defect to any party that offers him automatic ticket.

Meanwhile, Governor Ortom swearing in the new Special Adviser on Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Jerome Shimbe, who replaced Mr. Titus Zam, one of the Exco members affected in the cabinet dissolution on July 8, on Monday in Makurdi, remarked that the red card from APC clears his way for him to join any political party that has an ideology worthy of being adopted by his administration. “As for party, I have been given red card and I’m outside the pitch. So, if I have been given red card and I’m standing outside, I’m a free man.

“So, I don’t know what will happen next; but I’m waiting. If approached, then I will tell the Benue people that I’m joining another football club. I’m a child of destiny and it’s only God that will decide what I will be,” Ortom had declared.

However, APC Deputy National Chairman (North), Sen. Lawal Shu’aibu, has intervened to find solution to the friction between Ortom and Akume. Shu’aibu had extended invitation to the party leadership in the Benue State, essentially, Ortom and Akume, for an urgent meeting in Abuja.

Meanwhile, National Daily gathered that Akume has anointed Emmanuel Jime to succeed Ortom in 2019 and the incumbent cannot wait to the last minute to consider alternative platform for the 2019 governorship election.