Atiku picks Delta governor, Okowa as running mate

Atiku picks Delta governor, Okowa as running mate

Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has named Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of Delta, as his running mate in t

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Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has named Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of Delta, as his running mate in the 2023 general election.

He announced his choice of running mate on Thursday at the PDP national headquarters in Abuja, saying he reached his decision after wide consultations with party stalwarts.

He said it was a difficult decision for him for to make considering the quality of those that were recommended.

Sources close to the former vice-president said that Atiku would rather pick Okowa — not Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers — as his running mate.

The national working committee (NWC) of the PDP had on Wednesday endorsed Wike as Atiku’s running mate.

The NWC members voted 13-3 to endorse the report of the stakeholders’ panel which had earlier nominated Wike for the VP ticket.

But it was learnt Atiku was not comfortable with the choice of Wike as his running mate.

Giving reasons why he chose Okowa, Atiku said it is because Okowa meets “all or most of the qualities” he desires.

“In arriving at the decision, I held wide consultations with various stakeholders in our party including our governors, national working committee, board of trustees, and other leaders to seek their inputs and their wisdom,” he said.

“In these consultations, I made clear that my running mate would have the potential to succeed me at a moment’s notice, that is, a president-in-waiting.

“In other words, the person must have the qualities to be president.  The person must have an appreciation of the deep rot which our country has been put into by the rudderless APC government; understands the great suffering that most of our people are going through and the urgency of relieving them of that suffering; understand the critical importance of economic growth and development to provide our young people with jobs, hope, and a pathway to wealth.

“The person must appreciate the critical importance of education in the development of modern societies so we can prepare our young people to be able to compete in the increasingly competitive and globalized world.

“My running mate must understand that without security, the development will be very difficult because local and foreign investors who have been scared away already, would not return to invest in our economy. Thus, my running mate will be a person who will stand by me as I confront the frightening level of insecurity in our land.

“In addition, my running mate has to be someone who is not afraid to speak his mind and give honest advice, and, be by my side as I work very hard to reverse the destructive impact of the past seven years of the APC government.

“I have sought for the support, guidance, and counsel of the PDP in selecting a befitting running mate who meets all or most of the qualities enumerated above. The wisemen and sages of the party, put together by our NWC, have gone fishing and brought home an enviable group of awesome politicians that surpasses these qualities.

“Every one of the recommended persons is a fit and proper individual to hold this office. While this makes me marvel at the bundle of talents that abounds in our party, it also compounded my task of choosing a single person from among them.

“Let me, therefore, pay tribute to my party and, most especially, to all those that made the shortlist that must now be narrowed down to a single person. They are all dedicated party-men suitable for this task. I wish all the recommended persons could be announced today as my running mates. Unfortunately, only one must be chosen.

“It is a difficult decision that I am called upon to take. But, as someone hoping to lead a complex country such as ours, tough and difficult decisions would remain a part of my everyday life.

“Accordingly, let me state that the person I have chosen as my running mate possesses all those identified qualities. He personifies not only the seriousness the current moment represents for our country but also the future that our young people yearn for and deserve. He is a serving state governor who has demonstrated, in his state and through his conduct, that governance is about service to the people.

“I know that he will not only add excitement to our already energized ticket and campaign, but will also help to bring focus, discipline and stability to our government, come 2023.”

Abubakar added that members of the party must be united to secure victory in the 2023 elections.