Southern Presidency: I Won’t Join Issues With Clark, Others — Okowa
Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has said he regards himself as an Igbo man from the South-south geopolitical zone of the country and that even though it did not come as a surprise to him, he was lucky to have been chosen to be the running mate to the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubarkar.
Okowa, who stated this during an interview on Arise TV last night, was asked if he was a bridge builder between the North-east and the South-east. “I’m an Igbo man, looking at it holistically. Igbo from Delta State in the South-south having affinity with other Igbos in the South-east.”
He explained that there has neither been a Nigerian president from the North-east nor one from the South-east, stating that after the presidency of Atiku, “because I’m sure we will win,” someone from the South-east would be next president.
Okowa said he was lucky to have gotten the position of Vice Presidential candidate, because there were other equally qualified people in the party.
According to Okowa, the PDP had to throw open its presidential contest because the time was too short to adhere to an understanding that the next president of Nigeria should come from the Southern region.
“I know that there was a conversation like that among those in the Southern Governors Forum but we belong to different political parties and we abide by the decisions taken within our parties.
Within the PDP, we felt that the time was rather too short with regard to zoning to a particular part of the country. We felt it would be in the best interest of our party and our nation to throw the presidential race open, and this was after a debate by the national executive of the party and we went to the convention and the former Vice President Atiku Abubarkar emerged the presidential candidate after the primary.”
He said his coming into the ticket would add strength to it and that he expected everyone in the party to work collectively to make it a winning ticket.
Okowa said he was not unmindful of the fact that some of his colleagues would have been able to get the ticket but that at the end of the day, he was the lucky one. “We cannot rule out the fact that some people will be aggrieved but we must work together as a party and we will try to unite ourselves.”
Reacting to accusations that he betrayed the people in Southern Nigeria for agreeing to be Vice President to a northern presidential candidate, in disregard of warning by the Chief Edwin Clark-led Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) that the next president of Nigeria must come from the South, the Delta State governor said he would not join issues with these great leaders, stating that he was conscious of the decision by PDP, which he merely obeyed.