Ahead of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential primary election slated for May 28 and 29, 2022, Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, and his counterpart in Edo, Godwin Obaseki, have abandoned the call for a Southern president in the 2023 general election.
According to THEWILL, the two governors, who were conspicuously absent at the Party’s Southern Governors meeting, held at the Akwa Ibom House, Abuja, on Saturday, have thrown their weight behind the selection of a northern presidential candidate for the PDP.
The meeting attended by the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, that of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, Bayelsa state, Douye Diri and governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, had insisted that the best thing to do for the unity of the party was to zone the presidential ticket to the South.
However, THEWILL recalls that three out of the four notable presidential aspirants from the North in the PDP – former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Governor of Sokoto, Aminu Tambuwal, and the governor of Bauchi, Bala Mohammed, who had agreed to settle for a consensus northern candidate to fly the PDP Presidential flag, had earlier met with Obaseki and Okowa.
Speaking during the visit, Saraki said, “We really want your support in this process. There is a need for the PDP to provide that platform to make things better for Nigeria. As such, we have come out to say that we should work out a consensus arrangement, where we don’t all go to the field. We don’t want to dissipate our energy on just trying to get into power, but on how to make Nigeria better.
“All of us are eminently qualified to rule this country. But we believe that this time only one person will win, and that person needs everybody to make Nigeria better.”
Responding, Obaseki described the proposal as “a new lease of life” for the PDP.
“It is a new model for leadership selection where leaders who have some higher aspiration for their people come together and sit to decide the meaning of the office they seek to their people”, he said.
On his part, Okowa, who received the team in Asaba, Delta state capital, said the aspirants’ proposal is “truly heartwarming. This is a step in the right direction. It’ll strengthen us, tends to pull us together. This is the kind of thing that we need at the moment.”
According to THEWILL checks, both Okowa and Obaseki had earlier given running for the presidency a serious consideration, but dumped the idea after weighing their chances.
Okowa and Obaseki will work to deliver their state’s delegates to an aspirant from the North, according to our multiple findings.
Meanwhile, speaking on the consensus candidate, Vice Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Okezie Ikpeazu, who briefed newsmen after the meeting of the Southern governors on Saturday, said they were not concerned about that.
He said, “… I want to reiterate the position of the Southern governors, it is not my duty to speculate on what others are doing.
“But you must ask yourself, what is the truth? What is it that if we do it today we serve with the fairness of equity and justice. It is to zone Presidency to the South.”