By Nathaniel Ikyur
Irrespective of the present challenges of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, the party will reinvent itself in good time to defeat the All Progressives Congress in the 2023 elections. Discussions are going on at different levels, away from the public eye, to ensure unity and oneness of purpose in the PDP, with eyes on 2023.
Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, made this assertion on the eve of his holiday trip to the United States of America with his family. He admitted that there were substantive issues to be thrashed out within the party, but expressed confidence that the PDP will cross the rubicon.
According to him, “I will not say that all is well with our party. The good thing is that we recognise the issues and we’ve generated dialogue in various ways. Engagement is what I’ve always encouraged.
“Everybody cannot be winning all the time. There are certain internal mechanisms that should apply to conflict resolution within the party. Some of these instruments should have been deployed long ago.
“I’m very interested in ensuring that we discuss. I want us to have a win-win situation so that people will feel they have been carried along.
“Nigerians should have a viable alternative to the APC, especially after the dismal and abysmal performance of the party over the past seven years. They’ve kept their promise to take Nigeria from top to bottom. They have in fact taken our country beneath the bottom. It’s a big shame. For us in the PDP, the onus rests on us to mend the cracks in our party. No external influence will do that for us. By the grace of God, we will reach a successful end so that we can move on.”
Ortom is confident that the APC has minimised the hurdles on the path of the PDP towards the reclamation of the country’s leadership next year.
“So long as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is as professional and neutral as it was in Osun and Ekiti states, I don’t see the APC winning the elections. Their numbers are being depleted by the day.
“Two weeks ago, two APC members of the Benue State House of Assembly decamped to PDP. I received them. We have reduced the APC numbers in the House of Assembly to three, in a parliament of 30 members. APC is a non-issue in Benue State.
“With the kind of political traffic we are witnessing across the country from the APC to PDP, there is general disenchantment with the APC. It’s all over, Cross River, Rivers, everywhere. The APC government has unwittingly precipitated a huge lacuna, a very big gap, complete disconnect, with the people.” Ortom said further: “Having been in politics from the grassroots, the the state and national levels for over 40 years now, there’s no magic the APC can conjure to win in 2023.
“Some of their leaders who think they are powerful have indirectly visited wickedness on the generality of our people, in the name of being close to Aso Rock. We applied for a bailout of N42 Billion from the federal government to enable us offset longstanding arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuities. Some of these people scrambled to the State House to tell the President not to release the funds even after approval, so that we will not take the credit for solving the age-long problem. This is the kind of mean-spirited attitude APC is inflicting on our people.
“I said it before. It is now almost two years since I last saw the President. If I had access to him, I will prefer a one-on-one exchange with him. Since that is not possible, I go to the press. I must talk, I must express myself, I’m holding this office in trust for several million people of Benue State, I’m not here on my own volition. Unfortunately, those who are expected to burnish the image of their party and the President, have chosen to be antagonists of their own people. We will see how things evolve.”