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5 political reasons why Atiku prefers Okowa to Wike as a running mate

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After a long wait, the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) Alhaji Atiku Abubakar finally settled for Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State as his running mate for the 2023 presidential election.

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Atiku and the PDP announced the development on Thursday, June 16, 2022, after weeks of speculation and permutations in the media.

Before the announcement, it had been reported that the opposition party’s National Working Committee had considered and endorsed the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike for the position, but surprisingly, Okowa emerged as the party’s presidential candidate.

Okowa is believed to be a gentleman whose name hardly appears in the news for controversial reasons, while Wike on the other hand is believed to be a drama king.

But apart from this, there are many other reasons Atiku might have considered before choosing Okowa as his running mate. Some of the are stated below.

Okowa’s connection with the Igbos

Governor Okowa might be the number one citizen in a South-South state, he shares some ties with the Igbos in the South-East region.

First, his name, Ifeanyi is an Igbo name that means ‘nothing is too difficult for God’ when it’s written in full as ‘Ifeanyichukwu’.

As a VP candidate, the name Ifeanyi will no doubt appeal to the South-East electorate much better than the way the former President, Goodluck Jonathan ‘adopted’ an Igbo name, Azikiwe to pander to the sentiment of the Igbo tribe in 2011.

Again, Okowa’s affinity with the Igbos is strengthened by the fact that he is the first politician from Anioma to become the governor of Delta State.

Anioma is a community largely occupied by Igbos in Delta State, and Okowa identifying as a Delta-Igbo man can not be overlooked as he is fond of donning the red cap that traditionally belongs to the Igbos.

All of this justifies his electoral value for the PDP and cements his position as an ideal VP candidate for Atiku.

His importance in PDP

A lot of people talk about Governor Wike playing a key role in the PDP and sustaining the party’s relevance following its defeat in the 2015 general election, but Okowa too has been a key player in the party in the past seven years.

Okowa has over the year demonstrated his unwavering support and loyalty to the opposition party. He is believed to be a level-headed politician, who has never been caught in any web of political controversy.

These qualities are some of the reasons the party considered him as a member of the committee that organised the PDP Special Convention and Presidential Primary that produced Atiku as the party’s presidential candidate.

Okowa’s temperament and gentlemanly appearance are a gift for the opposition party as these may swing votes in favour of the party in the forthcoming elections.

Okowa is big in his region

As a governor of an oil-rich state, Okowa is a big name in the South-South region. He is also an influential governor among his contemporaries and counterparts in the region.

Having established a sound rapport with his colleagues in the geo-political zone as the incumbent Chairman of the South-South Governors Forum, Okowas was able to contribute immeasurably to Atiku’s emergence as the PDP’s presidential candidate.

With the kind of image the governor has created for himself in the party and his region over the years, the Atiku/Okowa ticket will reasonably enjoy some support from the entire south-south and south-east region in the 2023 elections.

Atiku believes Okowa is his ideal running mate

The presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku anchors his presidential campaign on unity and he believes Governor Okowa’s uncontroversial personality embodies the thrust of his agenda.

Speaking during the announcement of his running mate on Thursday, June 16, 2022, Atiku said his running mate should symbolize the quality to unite Nigeria.

The perceived animosity between Wike and Atiku

As stated earlier, the National Working Committee had recently recommended Wike and Okowa for Atiku as running mate options, but Atiku settled for Okowa because he reportedly believes Wike doesn’t like him.

Recall that in 2018, Wike worked against Atiku by supporting Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State to emerge as the presidential candidate of the party for the 2019 general election.

Also, Wike took advantage of his consultations with delegates ahead of the party’s primaries to take a swipe at Atiku who according to him is not loyal to the PDP because he allegedly abandoned the party after the 2019 elections.

However, going by the PDP’s National Working Committees’ votes, Wike should have emerged as Atiku’s running mate because 13 members of the committee voted for him while only three endorsed Okowa.

But due to the frictions between the presidential candidate and Wike, the former VP decided to go for Okowa as his running mate.

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Politics

Cracks in APC as 20 senators plan to defect to PDP, NNPP others

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No fewer than 20 senators are set to dump the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other political parties.

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The ruling party, which had earlier lost over 10 senators to the opposition parties is troubled by the wave of defection as more lawmakers that lost their return tickets to the National Assembly during the party primaries are set to leave the party.

On Wednesday, June 22, 2022, Senator Dauda Haliru Jika representing Bauchi Central, announced his defection to the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

Worried by the wave of defection in the party, the National Chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Adamu, met with the APC senators behind closed doors at the National Assembly complex, Abuja yesterday.

Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Adamu admitted that the APC is worried about the development.

The meeting with the senators was most fruitful. The issue of defection is an unfortunate development when it happens but this is a season where there are all sorts of behaviour in the political space and ours is not an exception.

“In every election year, this kind of thing gives cause for stakeholders to sneeze and Nigeria is not an exception so is the APC, not an exception. I don’t care about what is happening in other parties, my focus is on the APC. But we all know that the occurrence is not only happening in the APC, it’s happening across other political parties too. And because we are the ruling party, our problems are exaggerated before the public.

“There is no responsible leader that would not be worried when he loses one member not to talk of two. At the moment we are faced with the stark reality of our problems. I have committed my colleagues at the National Assembly to face the problem squarely and see the problem as solvable. We are in politics, I don’t know what would happen tomorrow, and nobody does,” he said.

According to Punch, a source in the National Assembly disclosed that not lesser than 20 senators are planning to leave the APC within the next week.

“The party chairman came to have a meeting with the APC senators because he said that they learnt through intelligence that not lesser than 20 more senators were planning to defect to other parties within the next one week.

“The chairman asked each of the aggrieved senators to lay bare their grievances which we all did one after the other. Having heard our problems, the chairman instructed that we put them into writing,” the source said.

The lawmaker said during Adamu’s meeting with them, the party chairman asked the senators to put their complaints into writing and promised to address all issues raised.

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Bala Mohammed meets Nyesom Wike in Port Harcourt [Photos]

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Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, has held a closed-door meeting with his Rivers State counterpart, Gov. Nyesom Wike.

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The National Vice Chairman of the PDP, South-South Dan Orbih was also part of the meeting.

The meeting with Bala Mohammed came after pictures of the Presidential candidate of the Labour party, Peter Obi meeting with Wike in his country home emerged online.

Obi says his visit to Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State was for the duo to discuss vital national issues.

Earlier today, I visited Port Harcourt, to confer with H.E. @GovWike on vital issues of national interest,” Obi’s tweet, shared alongside photos of him and the Rivers leader, read.

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Peter Obi explains why he visited Wike

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Peter Obi, the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party says he visited Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State to discuss vital issues of national interest with him.

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Obi’s visit to Wike in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, sparked a conversation on social media as many believe the meeting was about the forthcoming 2023 elections.

But hours after the meeting, the former governor Anambra took to Twitter to explain the reason he held a meeting with Wike behind closed doors.

“Earlier today, I visited Port Harcourt, to confer with H.E. @GovWike on vital issues of national interest,” Obi tweeted.

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