The chances of Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in next month’s election, continues to rise as Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, has thrown his weight behind his candidature.
Mr Ortom’s support for Mr Obi comes barely 48 hours that the erstwhile president, Olusegun Obasanjo, endorsed the former Anambra governor as his preferred choice for the country’s top political seat.
“Governor Ortom strongly recommends Peter Obi to Nigerians as the man who has the capacity to effectively tackle the economic, security and other challenges facing the country.
“He is convinced that Obi possesses the qualities of a leader who will be a true President of this country by guaranteeing justice, equity and fairness for all Nigerians,” the Benue governor said in a statement released by his media aide, Terver Akase, on Tuesday.
On Sunday, Mr Obasanjo announced his endorsement of Mr Obi in an open letter to young Nigerians, noting that the LP candidate was his preferred choice for president in the February 25 presidential election.
The erstwhile Nigerian president added that Mr Obi, a former governor of Anambra, was the man best suited for the presidency seat when compared with other contenders like Bola Tinubu of the APC and Atiku Abubakar of the PDP.
Mr Obasanjo noted that although none of the candidates were saints but said Mr Obi was the least evil on the parameters of character, discipline, and vitality, which are needed in running a nation as complex as Nigeria, describing him as a ‘mentee’ that has an edge above others in the poll.
“None of the contestants is a saint but when one compares their character, antecedent, their understanding, knowledge, discipline, and vitality that they can bring to bear and the great efforts required to stay focused on the job, particularly looking at where the country is today and with the experience on the job that I personally had, Peter Obi as a mentee has an edge,” he said in the statement released by his media aide, Kehinde Adeyemi.
Corroborating Mr Obasanjo in his statement on Tuesday, Mr Ortom said if he were not a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, he would have personally led Mr Obi’s campaign across the country.
The Benue governor added that for some years, the country has been tottering on the verge of collapse, owing to leadership failure and its attendant consequences of poverty, heightened insecurity with banditry, kidnappings and other acts of terrorism threatening the very foundations of the nation.
“President that Nigeria needs at this challenging time in the country’s history is one who understands the urgent need to unite the people and speedily initiate policies and actions to redirect the ship of the nation on the path of growth and development, and emphasizes that Peter Obi has all such qualities,” Mr Ortom added.
Mr Ortom is one of the five aggrieved governors of the PDP, known as the G5 and Integrity Group.
Others are Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia).
The Benue governor has been joining his other colleagues to refrain from campaigning for the PDP presidential candidate, amid opposition to the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu coming from the same region as the standard bearer.