ATIKU, TAMBUWAL TO MEET WITH ORTOM IN BENUE BEFORE CHRISTMAS
….drama as Atiku, Okowa, Ortom, Wike arrive minutes apart at Makurdi Airport
As part of moves to achieve common ground between the feuding groups in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), efforts may be intensify next week, as there is the likelihood of party’s Presidential Flag Bearer, ATIKU ABUBAKAR, may travel to Benue State to meet with Governor SAMUEL ORTOM.
This is part of the outcome of the meeting last weekend in Makurdi between the Benue State Governor, SAMUEL ORTOM, who is the Chairman of the G-5 governors and his Sokoto State counterpart, AMINU TAMBUWAL.
TAMBUWAL was said to have advanced the idea that there is still hope for resolution of the protracted crisis before the elections.
However, ORTOM advised TAMBUWAL, who is both the Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum and the Director-General of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, to reach out to the other governors in the Integrity Group.
Findings showed that even though ORTOM appreciated the visit to him, he informed his guest that he alone could not take a decision for the G-5.
Despise being the chairman of the group, WIKE is the leader of the Integrity Group with other members being Governors Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) and Ifeanyi Uguanyi (Enugu).
“Tambuwal came to seek reconciliation with Governor ORTOM but ORTOM told him that he cannot take any decision on his own, that he should meet with WIKE and the other members of the G-5,” a source privy to the discussion revealed.
The source, who craved for anonymity because of lack of authority to discuss the matter, also confirmed that arrangements would be made to receive the PDP flag bearer and TAMBUWAL in Makurdi before Christmas in continuation of the effort to achieve peace in the main opposition party.
This comes as both ATIKU and his running mate, OKOWA stormed the Makurdi Airport on Monday without giving Governor ORTOM any prior notice.
They transited there on their way to Lafia, Nasarawa State, for the Residential rally that took place there.
Meanwhile, there was mild drama at the airport in Makurdi, the Benue State capital during a brief encounter between the campaign train of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Presidential Candidate, Alhaji ATIKU ABUBAKAR and the State Governor, SAMUEL ORTOM along with his colleague in Rivers State, NYESOM WIKE, while ATIKU was on his way to the campaign in Nasarawa State on Monday.
Channels Television reported that ATIKU decided to fly to Benue State because he could not secure a landing clearance in Nasarawa.
The short encounter came barely 24 hours after ATIKU said he has met with Governor NYESOM WIKE of Rivers State five times to resolve the lingering crisis within the party without any way forward.
Speaking on Sunday during the People’s Town Hall, ATIKU said: “I have met WIKE two times in Port Harcourt, two times in Abuja and one time in London personally.
“It is not on my part; it is on the other side; I am waiting for him,” he said, without revealing the details of his discussions with the Rivers State Governor. ATIKU was on the programme alongside his running mate, Governor IFEANYI OKOWA.
Last week, WIKE and four other governors that formed the Integrity Group, restated that the door for reconciliation remained open over the misunderstanding with PDP national leadership. According to the report, about 20 minutes before his arrival, Governor ORTOM arrived at the airport and many thought he was there to receive the PDP presidential candidate.
However, about five minutes later, the PDP Vice-Presidential candidate, Governor IFEANYI OKOWA of Delta State landed at the airport and he exchanged pleasantries with ORTOM.
The latter was overheard asking jocularly: “So, you people will come to my state without telling me?” Moments later, a jet landed and ORTOM swiftly moved towards it to receive the person or persons aboard; it turned out to be Governor WIKE.
The Governors hugged and exchanged pleasantries and without wasting time, the two men entered their vehicle and zoomed off.
Twenty minutes later, ATIKU arrived at the airport alongside members of the Presidential Campaign Council and the PDP National Chairman, Senator IYORCHIA AYU.