Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, has responded to the controversy surrounding his choice of running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa, and why he did not choose Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
According to the NIGERIAWATCH Atiku emphasized after declaring Okowa as his running mate that he chose the Delta governor because he (Okowa) possessed the traits of a President, adding that he “is a President-in-waiting.”
“In making this choice, I sought feedback and wisdom from numerous stakeholders in our party, including our governors, the national working committee, the board of trustees, and other leaders,” he stated.
“During these conversations, I made it obvious that my running mate, as a president-in-waiting, would have the ability to succeed me at any time.”
“In other words, the person must possess the traits required of a President.” The person must understand the deep rot that our country has been thrown into by the rudderless All Progressives Congress government; understands the great suffering that most of our people are experiencing and the urgency of alleviating that suffering; and understands the critical importance of economic growth and development in providing our young people with jobs, hope, and a path to wealth.”
Meanwhile, during an interview on Arise TV on June 29, 2022, Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom said Wike and others who supported the Rivers governor for the PDP vice-presidential ticket deserved a clear explanation from the party’s presidential candidate on his choice of running mate.
He also stated that he had turned to fasting and prayer to seek God’s guidance following the selection of Okowa as Atiku’s running partner ahead of Wike.
Ortom found it strange that Atiku could disregard the advice of 14 of the 17 members of the committee who recommended Wike as his running mate.
“I am waiting for him (Atiku) since there are more things he is expected to perform,” Ortom stated. I anticipated him to contact Wike, who finished second, but he refused, contrary to widespread opinion among PDP members. 14 of the 17 members believe Wike should be the Vice President, but in his wisdom, he chose Governor Okowa. Governor Okowa is a kind man, and neither my friend nor I have any issues with him. But, in a democratic era, if 14 out of 17 people say it should be Wike, and he (Atiku) in his wisdom handed it to Okowa, I expect more explanation, I expect him to talk to Wike first, and I expect him to reach out to some of us so that we can work together as a party.
“But the bottom line for me is that I’ve gone into hibernation and I’m praying, and whatever God instructs me to do, I can assure you that I will do.”
However, in an exclusive interview with Arise TV that aired Friday morning, Atiku stated that he chose someone he felt could deliver from the names provided to him.
He went on to say that Wike was not rejected and that he only chose people who could perform.
“I didn’t reject Wike; I chose who can deliver,” Atiku stated. Wike is intelligent and determined. According to history, I chose an Igbo as my running companion in 2007. I chose an Igbo as my running mate for 2023.
“The committee that presented the three nominees was chaired by Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom.” They suggested three candidates, and I chose one. People should treat me fairly and reveal the facts.”
On the likelihood of addressing concerns with Wike, Atiku stated that the party was in discussions with Wike.
“We are reaching out to Wike and chatting with him, and I believe we will achieve an agreement very soon.” In fact, we’ll be talking to him very shortly.
“We’re speaking with his governor colleagues.” I am certain that we will resolve our internal crisis and move on.”
“I’ve disputed this presidency a couple of times, and I don’t try to blame anyone; I accept the outcome or go to court,” Atiku added.
Atiku also stated that he was motivated by a desire to serve his country.
“I’m motivated by a strong desire to give back to my country.” Because of all this country has done for me, I am motivated to give back to it.
“With what I have accomplished at my age, I have no aspiration other than the desire to serve my country.”
In terms of zoning, Atiku stated that the PDP had never committed to zone the presidency to the South, and that no such concession had ever been made.
“We never zoned to any particular region of the country,” he explained.