Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has picked Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta State governor as his running mate for the 2023 presidential election.
Atiku announced the decision on Thursday, ahead of Friday’s INEC deadline for the submission of names of party candidates and their running mates.
He emphasized the need for party unity, noting that the choice of Okowa is a collective decision.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please help me in welcoming the next vice president of Nigeria, His Excellency Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa,” Atiku said.
He said he consulted NWC, party governors, among others before arriving at the decision.
Praising the Delta State governor, Atiku said he settled for him because he is a man who understands what the country needs.
The former vice president by the decision, jettisoned the recommendation of the party’s national working committee (NWC) which had recommended Nyesom Wike, Rivers State governor as first choice.
Party sources said Atiku’s decision was made out of pressure and conspiracy against Wike.
Recall that a 17-man commitee set up to pick a running mate for Atiku had voted for Wike as the party’s choice, followed by Okowa and Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom state.
Wike had scored majority of the votes cast by the members of the committee led by Ambassador Umar Damagun.
Members who attended the meeting include: Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom; Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal; Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed; former governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu; former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido; former Cross Rivers State Governor, Liyel Imoke; Senator Adolphus Wabara, Senator Oluwole Oke, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, Professor Stella Effah-Attoe.
Others include former governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko; PDP National Secretary, Sam Anyanwu; National Organising Secretary, Hon. Umar Bature; former senate president David Mark, Senator Phillip Aduda, Honourable Theophilus Shan.
Atiku, however, said all the shortlisted candidates are eminently qualified, but that it was unfortunate that only one individual could be selected.