By Peter Duru, Makurdi
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Benue State has ceded its 2023 governorship ticket to Vandeikya and Otukpo Local Government Areas, LGAs of the state.
Vandeikya which is a Tiv speaking area has the immediate past Commissioner for Education, Prof. Dennis Ityavyar as the top contender while Otukpo LGA which is the headquarter of the Idoma speaking people of the state has the incumbent Deputy Governor, Mr. Benson Abounu as the sole candidate from that axis of the state.
The party reached the decision at a Special Stakeholders meeting held Thursday in Makurdi which had in attendance top leaders of the party including Governor Samuel Ortom, the PDP National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, Senator Gabriel Suswam and BoT member, Chief Margaret Icheen as well as members of the House of Representatives.
The State Publicity Secretary of the Party, Mr. Bemgba Iortyom, in a statement explained that “a Special Ad-hoc Committee headed by the party’s State Deputy Chairman, Mr. Isaac Mffo, received the mandate at the meeting to firstly deliberate and arrive at a zoning of the Governorship ticket between the Kwande and Jechira intermediate areas, following which Jechira was favoured on grounds of equity, inclusiveness and fairness.
“The Isaac Mffo led Ad- hoc Committee was further mandated to deliberate on a zoning of the ticket between Vandeikya and Konshisha local government areas which comprise the Jechira bloc following which Vandeikya got the nod for the same reasons of equity, inclusiveness and fairness earlier adduced in favour of Jechira against Kwande.
“Thursday, April 7, 2022 was then slated as date for the adoption of a consensus candidate for the party’s Governorship ticket in the Tiv speaking areas.”
Continuing, the Publicity Secretary in the statement said, “Governor Ortom expressed satisfaction with the process, stating that PDP in the state has opted for a pruning down of the number of aspirants in the race to avoid unnecessary expenditure by the aspirants while creating synergy within the party as it heads to the general elections next year.
“The governor commended the unity of purpose and peaceful interaction which has been the hallmark of relations among the governorship aspirants on the platform of the party so far, even as he charged them to maintain their bond of unity in pursuit of the larger objective of retaining the governorship seat in the state and winning federal power for it in 2023.”
The PDP National Chairman, Dr. Ayu was quoted as lauding the depth of quality among the pool of aspirants on the party’s platform, assuring them that he would use his good offices to grant them access to opportunities for participation in party assignments at the national level and also guarantee for them inclusion in government at the federal level should the party win the 2023 elections in the state and at the national levels.
Former Governor of the state, Senator Gabriel Suswam was also quoted to have enjoined the aspirants to embrace the fact that only one among them would eventually emerge victorious cautioning that none of them should consider leaving the party as PDP remained the most viable political platform in Nigeria presently.
Chairman of the Forum of Benue PDP 2023 Governorship aspirants, Mr. Chille Igbawua had on behalf of the aspirants pledged to accept and abide by the decisions taken by the leadership of the PDP as loyal party men who had placed the collective interest of the party above their individual ambitions.
The statement noted that attendance at the meeting was drawn from membership of the Benue PDP State Working Committee and the party’s Local Government Area Chairmen, Local Government Council Chairmen on its platform, members of its Caucus in the State Assembly, top government functionaries as well as the G-14 group of elders.
Vanguard recalls that before the Stakeholders’ meeting the party had 34 aspirants and efforts to prune down the number at the various Local Government level was partially successful as some of the aspirants who lost out at that level went ahead to purchase the governorship forms.
Among the governorship aspirants who had purchased the forms were businessman Paul Ubwa, former Acting Director General of Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, Dr. Paul Angya as well as the Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu who is the consensus candidate of the Idoma speaking people of the state.