No automatic ticket for Ortom, PDP aspirants insist

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The chances of the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, to clinch the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party to realise his second term ambition in the 2019 general elections are still hanging in the balance.

An impeccable source informed our correspondent that the National Executive Council of the party met during the week and rejected Ortom’s proposal, seeking to be allowed to control the party structure in the state.

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According to the source, Ortom had in his proposal urged the party to concede 60 per cent of its structure to him.

It was gathered that the national leadership of the party met with the party leaders in Benue State over the issue.

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The national leadership was said to have directed the state leadership to meet with all the aspirants.

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The party’s Publicity Secretary in Benue State, Bemgba Lortyom, could not be reached on his mobile line for confirmation.

But a statement issued via his Facebook page noted that the implementation committee of the PDP met in Abuja on Wednesday and mandated the party in the state to resolve the integration issue as an internal affair.

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The committee, the statement revealed, was chaired by a former governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke, who met with Ortom.

It was learnt that each of the 12 governorship aspirants wrote to the committee, “raising concerns regarding the demands for sharing of party structures.”

One of the governorship aspirants, Tehemen Tarzoor, had told our correspondent in an interview that the governorship aspirants in the state would vehemently resist any move by the party to give preference to Ortom, who recently defected to the PDP from the All Progressives Congress.

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Tarzoor said, “I can tell you that we can lead a movement to resist that because failure to redress imposition will spell doom for the PDP. It is either we get it right or it will break us.

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“So, the issue of bringing a sitting governor and imposing him on us cannot even work. Let the governor come and struggle with other governorship aspirants. But if you say go and adopt him, thank God, the court is there and it is the hope of the common man.

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“If we are treated as commoners, then we will show our nuisance value to the party; then we see how it goes.”

When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to Ortom, Terver Akase, said though he did not attend the meeting with the governor, the discussion was still ongoing.

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