Home POLITICS Running Mate: Okowa Favoured, Wike, Udom Make PDP Final List

Running Mate: Okowa Favoured, Wike, Udom Make PDP Final List

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There are strong indications that the Governor of Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, is favoured to emerge as Atiku’s running mate as the candidate is said to be favourably disposed to the choice of Okowa, a medical doctor serving his second term as the governor of the oil-bearing state.

Other persons being considered and who are interested in the slot are governors Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State and Nyesom Wike of Rivers State. Wike was the first runner-up during the party’s presidential primary held on May 29, 2022.

A top source in the party, who is also close to the candidate, said, “Atiku will consult very well. He has met with the governors on the platform of the party; he has met with members of the national caucus, the PDP Governors’ Forum, members of the National Executive Committee, and even former presidents and heads of state.

“The leadership of the party asked him to bring three names that he thinks he could work with and he did, which are the names people have been mentioning everywhere; Wike, Okowa and Udom Emmanuel. But I think he prefers Okowa. He (Okowa) is believed to have the support of the majority of the governors, including those from the South-East and South-South, where he hails from.

“The preference for him is also strategic. Following the need to carry along the South-East people, Okowa is Igbo from the Igbo part of Delta State. He is calm, a medical doctor and does not insult or fight people, including his colleagues. Even during campaigns, he’s not the type to speak ill of fellow aspirants or candidates.

“Therefore, it’s not likely that there will be any major opposition to his choice. Like I said, he is Igbo and he will create that needed balance between the South-South and the South-East. The Igbo will support him and people in the South-South will also support him.”

There are also insinuations that some PDP governors were against the choice of Wike as Atiku’s running mate.

On why Wike, who was a major contender for the presidential ticket, was not considered, the source, who was privy to some of the meetings held over the issue, told Sunday PUNCH, “Some governors frustrated the move to make him the running mate. They feel he is too powerful. But in all honesty, you need someone like Wike to win the election.

“He can fight dirty and can pull the crowd. But some of the governors, who form a powerful and influential bloc in the party, feel otherwise and you cannot dismiss their views.”

The source said a new twist to the search was the view of some stakeholders that the running mate should come from the South-West.

He added, “As it is now, it is very likely for Tinubu to pick his running mate from North-West. We must not forget that the majority of the votes are from the North-West and South-West. That is where the bloc votes are.

“What some stakeholders are saying is that if he does, it will be dangerous for the PDP to totally ignore the South-West, because North-West, which has the highest votes, may give Tinubu that advantage.

“Now, people are saying if a Christian from the South-West is Atiku’s running mate, it will affect Tinubu’s votes in the region, because running with a Muslim/Muslim ticket will spark outrage from Pentecostal Christians and that will affect his votes among even the northern Christians. It will also affect him in the South-South. That is the argument. So, the PDP cannot also ignore the South-West.”

To deepen his consultation, Atiku met with former PDP governors on Friday after he had met with former ministers. He wrote on his Facebook page that the responses from all the stakeholders that he had met reinforced his belief that the party would win if the unity was sustained.

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