Former vice president and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar has chosen Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta as his running mate ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
Senator Okowa, governor since 2015, was chosen from the ranks of serving governors and credentialed politicians in the South-East and South-South regions.
Okowa was made the ultimate nominee after a fierce contest with Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State. The choice was believed to be in the best interest of the party as it seeks a return to power next year.
Meanwhile, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 elections, Atiku Abubakar, has announced Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate.
Atiku made the announcement at a meeting attended by PDP executives at the party’s headquarters in Abuja.
PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, said a 17-member committee had been set up by the party to pick a running mate.
He said the committee had submitted three names to Atiku to choose from.
The final decision however, Ayu said, was Atiku’s.
Speaking at the announcement event, Atiku said making a choice between the three names had been a difficult decision.
He also noted that some of the qualities he looked out for include someone who understands the enormity of the challenges facing the country and one who has demonstrated, from experience, that he can proffer some solutions.
He said he looked out for one who has the qualities of a president, who can stand in for him when he’s not around.
According to him, while all the three names submitted were qualified, he had to settle for just one: Okowa.
Okowa and Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, were among names being mentioned as prospective running mates to the PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
Earlier, the PDP had denied reports that it had ruled out Wike from the Vice Presidential race.
“If anything, our Party reiterates its confidence in Governor Nyesom Wikes’s outstanding ability and commitment to the ideals and values of the PDP,” a statement signed by spokesperson, Debo Ologunagba, said.
“His records of achievement as a Local Government Chairman, Chief of Staff to the Rivers State Governor, Minister of State for Education, currently Governor of Rivers State and the runner-up in the PDP Presidential Primary stand him out as possessing requisite qualities, qualifications, capacity and wide acceptability for the position of the Vice-Presidential candidate of our Party.
“The various positions creditably held by Governor Nyesom Wike distinguished him as an excellent team player in public governance.
“In fact, Governor Wike’s energy, brilliance, commitment and passion were acknowledged by the National Working Committee (NWC) of our Party and he is adjudged as the foremost candidate in consideration for the position of the Vice-Presidential candidate of the PDP.
“While the PDP notes the interest of the media and the public in our Party’s choice of Vice-Presidential candidate it is imperative to state that as an organic Party, all our processes will be followed through in strict adherence to our procedures before any official announcements.
“The PDP urges Nigerians to disregard the mischievous reports aimed at undermining our Party’s unity at this critical time.”