The five aggrieved governors of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, chaired by Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, have warned on Thursday that the crisis in the party could lead to defeat in the February presidential election.
Ortom, who was unveiled late 2022 as the chairman of the group in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, told journalists that Iyorchia Ayu’s failed leadership has been responsible for the festering crisis.
The governors known as the G-5 have tried unsuccessfully to force the resignation of Ayu, the PDP National Chairman on account of corruption, compromise of the party’s presidential primary election and for being from the same region with the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
Both Atiku and Ayu have refused to accede to the demand even in the face of boycott of the presidential campaign rallies of the party.
The group reportedly met with the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu, in London some weeks ago but nothing concrete was arrived at.
Fears that four of the members are candidates on the platform of the party have also played a vital role in stalling their public declaration that they would announce their preferred presidential candidate.
Governors of Enugu, Benue and Abia states are senatorial candidates while Seyi Makinde, the only governor from the South West, is seeking re-election.
Only Governor Nyesom Wike, regarded as the arrowhead, is not seeking re-election.
On Thursday, Ortom hits out at Ayu in apparent frustration, describing his leadership as a failure.
He said, “No efforts by the leadership of our party have been able to address the issues that we are raising. They have not been able to adopt methods that will pacify and placate the G5. This is not right. So, on the G5, that is where we are.
“Arrogance, impunity, mischief, will not really help matters. One will expect that humility, it is said that you stoop down to conquer even if you want to make it.
“There are many ways if you have proactive leadership, a leadership that is humble. But when you treat people like they call us that ‘they are children’. I mean, a man of 62, how is he a child? A man at 50, how is he a child? But none of us are less than 40 years.
“We are leaders in our own right. Our people elected us. You can’t just sit in Abuja and make this kind of a thing.”
He added that they “are committed to issues of integrity, issues of fairness, equity, and justice. “I think we are on course as far as I’m concerned with our group (G5). As faithful party men, we have given enough time. And we are told that the failed leadership at the national level will take advantage of the opportunity we have given them to address those issues.
“There are many ways of addressing issues even when you are not able to meet the demands of a group or individuals.
“But when people decide to be arrogant, mischievous and do things as if the other person does not exist and try to do some things with impunity, as if they have won the election, and they don’t need any other person, it becomes a problem.”
However, Ayu during the party’s presidential campaign rally in Oyo State on Thursday, highlighted Makinde’s performance and urged the people to vote him for a second term, even as he called on “all aggrieved members to return home.”
The PDP chairman also told the crowd to vote “PDP top to bottom,”without reservation.
Makinde, in keeping with the vow made by the G-5, boycotted the rally.