Friday, 17 June 2022

VP Slot : Wike's Supporters At Dagger Drawn With Atiku Over Okowa's Choice


 


Supporters of the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and his appointees on Thursday expressed anger over the decision of the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to pick the Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate.

Wike’s loyalists, who reacted shortly after Atiku unveiled Okowa as his running mate,  dismissed the Delta State governor as a featherweight politician and warned that the decision would have implications for the PDP in the 2023 elections.

But supporters of Okowa and his appointees, in separate interviews , described the Delta State governor as a politician, who would add value to the PDP presidential ticket.

Earlier on Thursday, the PDP standard-bearer, via his Twitter handle, @atiku,  announced the governor of Delta State as his running mate.


He said, “I am delighted to announce Governor @IAOkowa as my vice-presidential candidate. I look forward to travelling our great country together, engaging with all Nigerians and building a shared future of peace, unity, and prosperity for all. As one, we can get it done. #OneNigeria. -AA”

The former Vice-President, who emerged as the presidential candidate on May 28,  began the search for a running mate together with the leadership of the party by setting up a committee by the party’s National Working Committee on June 9.

The ad hoc committee,  consisting of representatives of former governors, incumbent governors, the NWC and the Board of Trustees members, was saddled with the responsibility of recommending candidates for the vice-presidential slot.


It had been reported that those who were lobbying for the slot included Wike, Okowa, and the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel.

Although there were reports  on Wednesday that the committee had picked Wike, after Wike, Okowa and Emmanuel were shortlisted by the panel.

At the PDP headquarters, Abuja on Thursday, Atiku said he picked Okowa because he had the qualities to be a President, adding that he “is a President-in-waiting.”

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

“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 (All Progressives Congress) government; understands the great suffering that most of our people are going through and the urgency of relieving them of that suffering; understands the critical importance of economic growth and development to provide our young people with jobs, hope, and a pathway to wealth.”

Atiku, however, noted that all the candidates recommended by the party were proper individuals to be his running mate.


But political office holders in Rivers State, in separate interviews, criticised Atiku and warned that his decision would have implications in the 2023 elections


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