•The 2021 National Convention of the PDP that took place between October 30th and 31st, 2021 further proved the competences of Governor Samuel Ortom as a skilful political negotiator. Governor Ortom, aided by former President of the Senate, David Mark, Senator Gabriel Suswam alongside PDP Governors and party leaders across the country made the political horse trading easier. Given the understanding between the trio, it was easier to convince their colleagues from other states to buy into Dr. Iyorchia Ayu’s, nay, Benue project. Because of what the convention entailed for the PDP in the 2021 polls, party leaders arrived Abuja early for further consultations and horse trading. Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom, arrived Abuja October 27th.
•Governor Ortom, accompanied by personal aides and other political leaders paid a condolence visit on Senator Philip Aduda at his family residence at Karu. Aduda is the senator representing the FCT. His deceased father. Governor Ortom described the death of Rev Aduda as painful, particularly at a time Nigeria needed men of proven integrity.
•Later that evening, PDP Governors and other leaders of the party met for several hours at the Akwa Ibom Governor’s lodge in Asokoro for last minute assurances that the convention will be hitch free and less acrimonious. At about 9.12pm, Chairman of the PDP Governor’s Forum and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal led his colleagues to address the hordes of reporters who laid siege on the meeting. Tambuwal hinted that the Convention Committee which was headed by the Governor of Adamawa State gave assurances that all was set for the convention.
•Soon after, Governors Ortom and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi went back into one of the meeting rooms for another round of discussions with other contestants in a bid to persuade them to drop their ambitions.
•At about 23:18pm, Sam Ben, one of the PDP leaders from the East was so thrilled with the way Governor Ortom handled various aspirants that he came out to meet us in the living lounge. After ascertaining that we are from Benue, Mr. Ben quipped: “please go tell Ortom to drop politics and start wearing the cassock. Hes too convincing.” We later followed Govrrnors Ortom, Ugwuanyi and Okowa to the residence of Olagunsoye Oyinola located on Justice Sowemimo Street who was also contesting for the Deputy National Chairman, South. I didn’t get to know the details, but it looked as if it was to persuade him to step down. Unfortunately, he declined. And the outcome was a complete whitewash.
•Governors Ortom, Ugwuanyi, Okowa, Darius Ishaku and Ikpeazu of Abia moved to Taraba lodge. They met for about two hours before dispatching to reconvene later that evening.
FRI OCT. 29:
Akwa Ibom Lodge: From 6pm, Akwa Ibom Lodge became a beehive of activities as leaders of the PDP converged on the venue to fine tune positions for the main convention event. Former Vice president Atiku Abubakar, his erstwhile VP candidate in the 2019, Peter Obi, former Senate President David Mark, Iyorchia Ayu who emerged National Chairman, former Governors, ministers, Ambassadors etc were all handy.
SAT. OCT 30th:
Delegates fill up the Eagle square. By 4:10am, Dr Ayu declared chairman-elect. By 10am that same morning, Governor Ortom hosted Benue delegates at the Benue State lodge. The atmosphere was charged as party supporters sang and danced. Party leaders who spoke during the brief ceremony harped on unity among Benue people to attain greater heights. They likened the emergence of Dr. Ayu as the National Chairman of the PDP to the synergy and commitment of all the leaders in the state. They reasoned that if we could speak with one voice like they did to ensure Ayu gets the position, we’ll be greater. It was instructive that Ortom, Mark, Suswam, Moro constantly shared intelligence reports from all their engagements. That way, they were able to convince other zones to support Dr. Ayu. Congratulations our National Chairman.
Ikyur is the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Benue State.