Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has countered a directive of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which asked Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State to appear before the National Disciplinary Committee of the party over alleged anti-party activities.
The PDP had on Thursday also announced the suspension of a former Senate President Pius Anyim and a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, and two other members of the party.
Mr Wike on Thursday said Governor Ortom would not appear before the disciplinary committee. He described the suspension of Mr Fayose and others as a nullity, and said if there is anyone who should be suspended it is the National Chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia Ayu.
“I want to state clearly and let members of the party and Nigerians hear it clearly, the National Working Committee made up of Dr Iyorchia Ayu, who they say is the chairman of the party; Sam Anyanwu, the national secretary and other members of NWC, cannot suspend Ayo Fayose, not to talk about referring governor Ortom to national disciplinary committee,” a statement from the media aide to Mr Wike, Kelvin Ebiri, quoted the Rivers governor as saying in the Government House, Port Harcourt.
“Referring a governor to your so-called national disciplinary committee is the height of all insult, and we will not take it. Therefore, be ready for whatever you see as far as this our party is concerned,” Mr Wike added.
Messrs Wike and Ortom are members of the G-5, a group of five PDP governors who rebelled against the party and withdrew their political support for the PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar on the grounds that the party ought to have looked towards the south for the next Nigerian leader since President Muhammadu Buhari is from the north.
The G5 also pushed, unsuccessfully though, for Mr Ayu’s resignation to pave the way for a southerner to lead the PDP in order to create a “regional balance”.
Both Mr Ayu and Atiku are from the north.
During the 2023 election, Mr Wike supported Bola Tinubu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, who is now the president-elect. Another of the G-5 members, Governor Seyi Makinde, who has just been re-elected for a second term, supported Mr Tinubu.
Governor Ortom supported Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate, whom he said was the best person to lead Nigeria at this moment of economic and security crises.
Mr Obi lost the presidential election, while Governor Ortom lost in a senatorial election.
“Governor Ortom, who has stood firm for the unity of this country, Governor Ortom who has come out openly to say that Nigeria must be one is not the type you will say you’ll refer to that your kangaroo committee.”
‘It’s Ayu who should be suspended’
“If there is any person deserving suspension it should be you (Ayu), who played anti-party by refusing to obey the constitution of the party on zoning of political offices as is required. So, whoever tells you can suspend people, please tell the person that he is not serious,” the Rivers governor said on Thursday.
“If you are talking of anti-party it is you who could not even deliver your unit, deliver your ward that is involved. Because of the fraudulent activities you are involved in, people have lost hope in you. That is why you cannot win your unit, win your ward,” Mr Wike said.
The governor, according to the statement, cautioned Mr Ayu and the NWC to desist from threatening the G-5 governors and members of the Integrity Group with suspension.
Mr Ayu, he said, has by his recent action opened up a new chapter of political war in the party.
“You cannot cage any of us. Ortom will not appear before any of your so-called disciplinary committee. Ayodele Fayose will also never appear before any disciplinary committee.”
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.Donate
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999