By Chinelo Obogo, Scholastica Onyeka, Makurdi and Tony John, Port Harcourt
Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State has reportedly threatened to resign as chairman of the Atiku Abubakar’s Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) if campaign funds were not released.
But the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Ini Ememobong, said he was not aware of any such threat.
“The Governor is a gentleman and doesn’t issue threats, he discusses. He is a natural peace builder wherever he finds himself, so we know he is pursuing peace and reconciliation to help the party win’, he said.
In spite of the rebuttal, an impeccable state government house source revealed exclusively to Daily Sun that Udom confided in some aides in his inner circle that he was exasperated with the inability of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to release funds for campaign in the state.
The source said despite the fact that the PDP is the ruling party in the state, the presidential candidate is not a favourite among residents, hence, the need for his campaign to commence in earnest.
“At the moment, our governor has said he would not be spending a dime of the state’s funds on the presidential campaign because we don’t even have more than enough resources for our national and state Assemblies campaigns. He has even said he would rather resign than appear incompetent. He wants to campaign for Atiku but his hands are tied because of lack of funds.
“At the moment, we are waiting for the candidate to release funds so that the party can start campaigning for him here but if he doesn’t do so, then we would just focus on our National Assembly and state candidates. It is not that the governor does not support him but the fact remains that we are our governorship campaign is our priority at the moment.
“If you go to the streets of Akwa Ibom and talk to people, you would see that Atiku is not popular among the top presidential contenders. Also, the fact that most of the billboards you see in Uyo are either for our national assembly and state candidates and the presidential candidates of other parties gives you an understanding of what is at stake.
“For instance, the supporters of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party have sponsoring billboards and pasting posters of him all over the city but that of Atiku are few because funds haven’t been released,” the source said.
Meanwhile, National Chairman of the party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, was absent as the Benue State chapter flagged off its 2023 campaigns in at the Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida square, Makurdi, yesterday.
The event witnessed by a mammoth crowd from the 23 local government areas of the state was attended by Governor Samuel Ortom, who was supported by the G-5 Governors, Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Okezie Ikeazu of Abia state, Ifeanyi Ugwuany of Enugu and Seyi Makinde of Oyo state.
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State acknowledged as worthy sacrifice made by the Integrity five governors who had spent two days in Makurdi to show solidarity and make sure that PDP win all elections in the State.
Governor Ortom said PDP looks good in the state because it has been winning its election and shall win again.
He thanked Wike, especially for donating part of his campaign vehicles to support the campaigns in Benue and prayed God to bless them for their solidarity said PDP in Benue state have no problems.
In his remark, Governor Wike denied there was any subsisting problem in the party.
He maintained that if there was any problem in the PDP, he and his counterparts, now christened the ‘Integrity governors’, would not have been in Benue to participate in the PDP campaign flag-off.
Governor Wike described his Benue State counterpart as a gift to his people and encouraged them to continue to believe in him.
“We came here to support a man whom you can go to sleep comfortable with your two eyes closed. Your governor is a man who believes in his people. Your governor is a man who can die for his people. Your governor is a man who will never change for whatever it takes because he believes first that Benue must survive.”
Governor Wike stated that they know Governor Ortom to be such a reliable person hence they left the comfort of their states to show him solidarity.
“We went to commission five projects today. Look, this man (Ortom) is a gift to the people of Benue State. So, I don’t know of any problem, if there was problem, we wouldn’t have come here.”
Also speaking, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, who expressed deep worry over the continuous killing of Benue people by herdsmen militia said “the issue at stake today is about us in Benue choosing life over death and we have seen the efforts that Governor Ortom has made to cry about our plight here in Benue state. Anybody who takes us away from our farms wants to take our lives away. Therefore, I will ask and urge the people of Benue state to follow Ortom. Follow him wey know road. Don’t follow somebody wey no know road.
“I believe that Ortom is the Moses that will take Benue to the promise land. The candidates of the PDP will lead the way to take Benue out of Egypt. My prayer is that Benue people will be wise and follow Uba, all our National Assembly candidates and all others in PDP. Vote PDP all the way,” Okezie said.
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Seyi Makinde said they were in the state to lend their support to the state’s campaign flag off adding that they were excited at the testimonies that Benue is PDP.
“My only message to you is don’t be complacent, I beg you in the name of God. Go out there, put in the hard work and deliver Benue to PDP. You have done it before and you will do it again. I wish you a successful campaign and pray that by February/March 2023, you would have delivered all your candidates to PDP,” Makinde said.