By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
Thirteen governorship aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Benue State, have rejected the planned re-joining of the party by the State governor, Samuel Ortom, describing him as a liability to the party.
The aspirants, among whom are the PDP governorship candidate in the state during the 2015 general elections, Dr. Terhemen Tarzoor and two Professors – David Ker and Tor Iorapun- said this at a press conference addressed yesterday in Abuja.
The aspirants pointed out that while they were not against the return of defectors, they were against the defection of people with negative values and mileage to the party.
The PDP governorship aspirants, who spoke through Prof Ker, a former Vice Chancellor of the Benue State University, Makurdi, insisted that Governor Ortom is both a political liability and of negative value.
The Governor, it will be recalled, had recently said that he had been given a red card in the All Progressives Congress, APC, the platform under which he contested and won election into his present position, and that he is waiting to determine his next political move.
However, the PDP governorship aspirants insisted that with Governor Ortom in PDP, the fortune of the party risk being dwindled.
According to them, “We are looking at assets, not liability. The governor of Benue state is a liability. His coming back to PDP will make PDP lose elections.
“Governor Ortom has not paid salary of workers for one year and four months. The Benue people are not happy with him. We don’t want people who have negative value that will rob off on our party”, they said.
Speaking under the auspices of Forum of Governorship Aspirants, they vowed to resist any attempt to truncate the internal democratic process that has characterized the Benue chapter of the party in the past few years, adding that if the PDP is to take the state from the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC; effort must be intensified to nip in the bud, what they termed the plot to shortchange the party’s executive in the state.
One of the aspirants, John Tondu argued that though politics is a game of numbers, the governor, he said, has no electoral value to make the PDP the party to beat.
He said: “The governor of Benue state today is a liability, not an asset. He is not welcome.
“Because of the love we have for the people of Benue state, anything that will cripple our plan to take over the state should not be tolerated”, he said.
Echoing the same sentiment, Dr. Terhemen Tarzoor, the state PDP governorship candidate in the 2015 governorship election, said that the credibility of Ortom has reached an all-time low, having been shown the ‘red card’ by the APC.
His words, “We are sensitive to the value and character of the people joining the PDP. We won’t sit down and watch people of negative value join the party; someone who has not paid salaries for one year and four months.
When a person is chased out of a party, it speaks much about that person and what he represents, “ Tarzoor added.
Chairman of the forum, Professor David Ker in his speech tasked the state chapter of the party to walk in fidelity with its promise of a free and fair primaries, noting that anything short of that would spell doom for the PDP.
He said, “We reiterate that a level playing field for a free, fair and transparent primary election which has been promised us by the Benue state leadership of the PDP remains the only option by which the party could credibly and successfully nominate a governorship candidate in the 2019 governorship election if indeed the party is serious at recapturing power from the present APC-controlled government in the state.
“While we may not oppose any group or individuals from joining and participating in the affairs of the party in the state, we are strongly opposed to a purported unilateral decision to dissolve the executives of the party at all levels in the state to accommodate or give undue advantage to any group or person angling to join the party “ he said, warning that an form of imposition would be “resisted by all of us, the 13 governorship aspirants”, he said.