John Alechenu, Abuja
The Chief Press Secretary to the Benue State Governor, Mr Nathaniel Ikyur, has said it was mischievous of anyone -including kinsmen of the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Sen. Iyorchia Ayu, to accuse the governor of responsibility for Ayu’s political travails.
Ikyur said this in response to allegations contained in a communique issued by Ayu’s kinsmen under the aegis of the Abuja Chapter of the Jemgbagh Development Association, after a meeting on Sunday.
The association had accused Governor Ortom of conniving with his Rivers State counterpart and others to try to force Ayu’s resignation as party chairman.
It went further to say should Ayu be removed from office, the chances of Ortom and the PDP winning the 2023 elections in Benue State would be damaged.
Responding to the association, Ikyur in a statement on Monday, said, “It is outright mischief for anyone, including the Jemgbagh Development Association, Abuja chapter to accuse Governor Samuel Ortom of having a hand in the current travails of the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu.
“It is an open secret that Governor Ortom worked tirelessly, alongside other prominent Benue citizens to ensure that Dr. Ayu gets elected as the national chairman of our great party even against all odds. He cannot, therefore, turn around to work against him to be removed from office.
“In the run-up to the National Convention, Governor Ortom got the backing of many leaders of the PDP who believed his sense of judgment when he vouched for the integrity and capacity of Dr Iyorchia Ayu to lead and rebuild the PDP to victory and rescue Nigeria from the misrule of the APC maladministration.
“That is why Ayu was returned unopposed by the Northern caucus of the party and got elected as the national chairman of the PDP at the party’s convention.
“Where was Jemgbagh Development Association when Governor Ortom galvanised support from across the leaders of the party to make Dr Ayu national chairman?
“What was their contribution to that project that they now want to use clannish stance to blackmail the Governor?
“It is, therefore, laughable how this amorphous and emergency Jemgbagh Development Association, Abuja who have never been heard of before, is now masquerading as the voice of Jemgbagh to embark on a campaign of calumny against Governor Ortom who has worked selflessly for the people of Benue State.
“What is currently going on in our great party is the beauty in the evolution of democracy and has nothing to do with Governor Ortom working against the national chairman.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Ortom is more Jemgbagh than most of the people claiming it now.
“This is fact because he has done more for Jemgbagh both in terms of appointments and projects executed as well as patronage in the area than even one of the Jemgbagh son who was Governor.
“Besides, Governor Ortom has consistently worked for the unity of Benue State and will never stand in the way of any of her citizens, either here in the state or in the diaspora.
“For those who claim to be leaders of this Jemgbagh Development Association, Abuja, we urge them to be truly developmental in their drive to build cohesion among the people and attract real development to their area rather than engaging in mischief or blackmail .“