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Nigeria: PDP Will Adopt Consensus Presidential Candidate in 2023, Says Benue Governor Ortom

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom on Tuesday said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would adopt consensus option for the emergence of its presidential candidate for the 2023 election. He also

Samuel Ortom

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom on Tuesday said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would adopt consensus option for the emergence of its presidential candidate for the 2023 election.

He also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to return the amended Electoral Act sent to him for assent to the National Assembly, saying the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) does not have the capacity to monitor direct primary elections among 18 political parties.

Addressing a media briefing in Abuja, Ortom said the PDP would adopt consensus option at all levels, including the presidential candidate in choosing its standard-bearers for the 2023 general elections.

The Benue State governor also alleged that so far, over 1700 citizens and 100 security officials had been killed in the security crisis involving the herdsmen and farmers in the state

He said: “In 2023, we are going to adopt a consensus option in the nomination of all candidates and where we cannot reach a consensus as we did in the election of the members of the National Working Committee (NWC) and where we cannot reach a consensus, we will have elections”

He said contrary to reports, it was the former Senate President, David Mark that recommended the PDP National Chairman designate, Iyotchia Ayu as a national chairman, saying they are good friends and brothers.

On the proposed direct primary election for political parties, the Benue State governor called on President Buhari to return the amended Electoral Bill to the National Assembly, insisting that INEC does not have the capacity to monitor direct primary elections in 18 political parties.”

He said the electoral college system or indirect primaries remained the best for the nomination of candidates

According to Ortom, “the best option is indirect primaries, political parties ought to be allowed to evolve a system and processes that would help them grow and develop internal democracy within them.

“The direct primary system is more expensive, discourages internal democracy,” he said, explaining that the governors and party members were taken aback about the proposed legislation.

He urged President Buhari to make haste to return the bill to the National Assembly for necessary amendments

According to Ortom, the indirect primary was more democratic, fair and transparent and ensures equity.

He disagreed with the insinuation that the governors use the indirect primary elections to their advantage and manipulate the nomination processes.

He explained further, “As a governor, it is easier to manipulate the direct primary than the indirect primary. In an indirect primary, the delegates can easily revolt or protest, when the processes are tampered with or manipulated

“How can INEC conduct a direct primary in Benue State where there 276 wards alone, let alone the remaining 25 states and the Federal Capital Territory. The direct primary will give the governors more powers. If any governor wants to manipulate the processes, it is easier for manipulation. Above all, INEC doesn’t have the capacity. It will be too much load on INEC.”

Ortom said that if the amended electoral laws was returned to the National Assembly it could still be amended and assented into law before the lawmakers proceed on the yuletide break, saying, “nothing is impossible when there is the political will.”

Responding to a question on the panel report on EndSARS that was released on Monday, the Benue governor said, “let justice and equity be allowed to take its place. For me, I believe in justice. I am not the Lagos State governor, in Benue State, we implemented the outcome of the panel report to extent that justice is seen to have been done to all concerned. “

On the state of the economy, Orton said that Nigeria has been taken back 40 years

According to him, President Buhari has been hijacked by a cabal.

He argued that this was not the Buhari he knew before the 2015, asking, “where are we now? We are just paying lip service and the country is going down day by day

“The cabals have taken over President Buhari. He meant well when he assumed office. But the people are intimidated. Unknown gunmen and known gun men have taken over the country and yet we cannot take action till one day, they will over run the country

“I believe in Nigeria. I believe in the unity of this country, but let us not take the line of mediocrity. There is injustice, there is no equity. There is no fairness in this country any longer. Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho are detained for one reason or the other, but no one is after kidnappers and bandits who are busy having a field day in the country

“The security agencies are not going after them. In Benue State over 1700 people have been killed and over 100 Army, Police and DSS officials have been killed and the federal government is helpless.

“This government has failed; this government has demonstrated that they have no capacity and collectively we have failed “, Ortom stated.

On his relationship with President Buhari, he said, “sycophants and cabals have tried to distance him from me,” however, he said he has a positive relationship with security agencies in Benue State, explaining that it was because of this that he recently signed a bill that empowered the Community Volunteers Guards to carry arms in the state.

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

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