In an unexpected turn of events, the governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, has been publicly disowned by two important PDP members in the state over his choice of a presidential candidate for the 2018 general elections.
Professor Iyorwuese Hagher, a former minister of power and steel, and Senator Abba Moro, a former minister of the interior, both stated at a recent town hall meeting sponsored by supporters of Atiku Abubakar that they thought PDP candidate Atiku Abubakar was the only one with the capacity and experience to lead the nation at this time.
Their comments were in stark contrast to Governor Ortom’s, who had just a few days before openly stated his support for Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party. Although the reasons for Governor Ortom’s decision to choose a different candidate are not totally known, it appears that the choice has not been warmly received by other prominent party members.
Senator Moro bemoaned the fact that the majority of the other presidential hopefuls were not providing answers to the nation’s issues and that only Atiku had the capacity to establish peace, fix infrastructure deficiencies, and bring the country together at the town hall meeting. This opinion was shared by Professor Hagher, who said that Atiku was distinct from other Fulani who had killed people in the state.
The fact that Benue State is not well known for being a key player in Nigerian politics makes this development all the more noteworthy. The state has a limited voting population, therefore candidates frequently bypass it in favor of more populated areas. The views of influential political personalities in the state, however, might still affect voters because the 2018 elections are predicted to be fiercely contested.
It’s unclear how this will all turn out, but one thing is certain: Governor Ortom’s rejection by other influential PDP figures in Benue State has given the already complex political scene a new twist. It will be interesting to observe which candidates acquire traction as the nation prepares for the general elections and how this will eventually affect the results.