Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has suspended the Managing Director of Benue Investment and Property Company Limited, Alex Adum, for allegedly campaigning for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar.
In a letter issued by the Secretary to the Government of Benue State, Anthony Ijohor, dated 25 September, Mr Adum was suspended indefinitely for alleged financial misappropriation.
However, those close to Mr Adum told PREMIUM TIMES that he was suspended for campaigning for Atiku.
Mr Adum, a former attorney general and commissioner for justice under ex-Governor Gabriel Suswam, appears to be on a political trajectory different from Mr Ortom, who is in a political battle with Atiku.
The suspended MD has been backing Atiku and the National Chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia Ayu, a development said to have irked Mr Ortom who prefers that his trusted aides should always queue behind him politically.
“Ortom warned all his aides not to have anything to do with Atiku. Adum has been openly canvassing Atiku candidature on social media. He has been attending Atiku meetings courtesy of Iyorchia Ayu,” a source told PREMIUM TIMES.
A glance at the Facebook account of Mr Adum shows that he is a vigorous campaigner for Atiku while his boss remained opposed to the candidate.
Six days ago, he made a post on his Facebook page supporting Atiku despite the position of his boss on the ongoing crisis in the PDP.
Mr Ortom and other persons within Governor Nyesom Wike’s camp had some days ago withdrawn from the PDP presidential campaign council in protest against Mr Ayu’s continued stay in office.
The group had after a meeting at the private residence of Mr Wike in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, announced their withdrawal from the campaign pending Mr Ayu’s resignation.
The group contends that Messrs Ayu and Atiku are from the North, hence, there is a need for the former to resign and allow a southerner to take his place as national chaiman.
Mr Wike claimed Mr Ayu promised to resign in the event of an emergence of a northern presidential candidate after the convention.
Besides, Mr Ayu has been accused of supporting Atiku during the presidential primary election at the May convention of the party.
Often, Mr Wike’s faction refers to the viral video of Mr Ayu calling Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State the ‘hero of our convention”.
Atiku appears to be calling the bluff of Mr Wike and others by insisting that “the decision for Dr Iyorchia Ayu to resign from office is personal to Dr Ayu and neither I nor anyone else can make that decision for him.”
PREMIUM TIMES could not get Mr Ter to comment for this story.
The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ortom, Nathaniel Ikyur, denied that Mr Adum was suspended for political reasons.
“The statement is written in black and white. There is no need to infer and begin to think about any political reasons. There is nothing like that. The statement from the SSG is unambiguous,” Mr Ikyur said.
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