The Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, says he is ready to sacrifice his senatorial ambition in the National Assembly elections this Saturday, if it will ensure the victory of the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi.
Ortom, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is contesting the election in the Benue North-West senatorial district.
His January endorsement of Obi came after months of refusal to support the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, whose emergence in May 2022 was viewed by several high-ranking party members as unfair.
The Benue governor reiterated his support for the former Anambra State governor while addressing members of the Igbo community in the state on Monday.
“For me, it’s not even that I’m contesting an election. Yes, the form was bought for me by the people of Benue State. I’ve gone round; they have accepted that they will vote [for] me,” he said.
“But if I’m to sacrifice my senatorial ambition for Peter Obi to win, so shall it be,” he said to loud cheers from the crowd.
He added, “I know that if [any group of] people are connected in this world, they are the Igbo. This is the opportunity you have to say that an Igbo man from the South-East is president.”
Ortom identified with those who believed in the unity of Nigeria and working together, saying it was for this reason that he accommodates everybody.
“So, let us not miss this opportunity that God himself is providing. The youth have told me, my own people have told me – stakeholders here, traditional rulers, party people across party lines. Obi’s matter is not about APC or PDP or SDP or any other party. It’s about Nigeria.”
Speaking to the crowd, he told them that they have the population, adding that they should thank God for “what is unfolding”.
He described Obi as a species that is not bound by ethnicity.
“That is why when I hear some prominent Igbo personalities castigating Peter Obi for contesting the election – is it not you people that have been saying you have been marginalised since after the war?
“The opportunity has come today and you’re still complaining. What do you want?! What are you looking for?
“The whole country – North, South, East, and West – are saying Peter Obi, and you hear some people say, ‘We don’t want it.’ Haba! Those people should be outcasts.”