2023: Atiku Has Done Injustice To Wike…I’ll Hear From God Before Supporting Him – Gov Ortom

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has accused Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, of doing ‘injustice’ to Governor Nyesom Wike by denying him the PDP vice-presidential slot against the collective wish of the PDP leadership.

Ortom leveled the allegation against Atiku during an Arise TV interview monitored by THE WHISTLER on Wednesday.

Governor Wike of Rivers State had arrived second place behind Atiku at the recently held PDP presidential primary and was reported to have lobbied to be paired as Atiku’s running mate for the 2023 presidential election.

THE WHISTLER exclusively reported that ahead of Atiku’s announcement of Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate, Governor Wike had demanded the VP slot as his only condition to support the party’s flagbearer in the February 25 presidential election.

 Atiku-Abubakar-and-Nyesom-Wike
L-R: Atiku Abubakar and Nyesom Wike

Although he did not mention Atiku’s name, Governor Ortom confirmed earlier reports that 14 out of 17 members of the PDP committee saddled with the selection of Atiku’s running mate had picked Wike.

He described Atiku’s choice of Okowa over Wike as an “injustice”, adding that “it is an insult to say you put a call to him (Wike)” instead of Atiku going to the Rivers governor to appease him.

Ortom said, “…14 people out of 17 said that Wike should be the vice-presidential candidate. If that was not going to work, he would have been told that, please, we can’t do this. Politics is a game of compromise but it is wrong for anybody (to scheme Wike out).”

The Benue governor sided with Wike over reports that his Rivers counterpart has refused to respond to calls put to him on behalf of Atiku after he was denied the vice-presidential slot.

“Why should you just send calls to Wike? Why can’t you go to him? You have offended him. Wike is a pillar of this party…when people ran away from this party, Wike was on ground, Wike was the one that brought me back to the PDP.

“Injustice was done to me in 2015 (but) it was Wike that came here and convinced me to come back to the PDP. I came to the PDP, we are working and you do injustice to him and you think he will keep quiet? I mean this is not fair. I believe in justice, equity and fairness.

“It is not enough to say you put a call to him…it is an insult to say you put a call to him. The party leadership at the national level should go to Wike and appeal to him (because) Wike is a pillar of this party and everybody knows. Wike was second to Atiku (at the presidential primary). Atiku should go to him. It is unfair to say that you just put a call to Wike,” he said.

While noting that he has no problem with Atiku’s choice of Okowa as his running mate, Governor Ortom said “Wike should have been consulted and spoken to so that we can work together. Everybody must not be in position (but) the truth is that Wike would have been consulted in the first place even before the announcement (of Okowa as PDP VP candidate) was made.

Atiku-Okowa-2023
L-R: Atiku Abubakar and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa

“I don’t blame Wike, they are to be blamed, those people in leadership should be blamed. They would have allowed the opportunity for Wike to also have first-hand information. Tell me one person that has built this party to where it is today…then you come and just dismiss him with a wave of hand? It is not right.”

The Benue governor also dismissed speculations that Governor Wike may have decided to work against the PDP over Atiku’s refusal to pick him as his running mate.

“Has Wike worked against the party? Has he done anything to work against the party? If President Buhari comes to Benue today, I will receive him. If the national chairman of the APC comes here, I will receive him…there is no problem with that. If Obi and Kwankwaso should come to me, why should I say no to them?”

Meanwhile, Atiku had at a press conference he called to announce his running mate, described his choice of Okowa as a “difficult decision”.

The party’s leadership had shortlisted and screened Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike; Akwa Ibom Governor, Emmanuel Udom, and Governor Okowa of Delta State, for the VP slot.

Atiku had at the briefing said, “It is a difficult decision that I was called upon to take. But, as someone hoping to lead a complex country such as ours, tough and difficult decisions would remain a part of my everyday life.”

According to him, he chose Okowa because the Delta governor “personifies not only the seriousness the current moment represents for our country but also the future that our young people yearn for and deserve.”

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