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‘You’re a traitor’ — Clark, Adebanjo blast Okowa for accepting Atiku’s VP offer

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Following the nomination of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State as the running mate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Chief Edwin Clark, and Ayo Adebanjo have criticised the governor for accepting to be Atiku’s Vice Presidential candidate.

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Atiku who emerged as the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in May had on Thursday, June 16, 2022, picked Okowa as his running mate for the 2023 general elections.

He said the governor is his ideal VP candidate saying he has the quality to unite Nigeria.

But the leaders of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Afenifere, a socio-cultural organisation for the Yorubas have criticised Okowa for accepting to run with Atiku.

In a statement jointly signed by the groups’ leaders, the groups describe Okowa as a traitor, saying he should not have accepted Atiku’s offer.

Recalling the agreement by Southern Governors that the presidency should be zoned to their region, the groups said it “unspeakable and quite disappointing” that Okowa accepted the Vice Presidency nomination from Atiku, who is a northerner.

The statement titled ‘Atiku’s VP Nomination: You are a traitor, Southern, Middle Belt leaders berate Governor Okowa’ was signed by Edwin Clark, Ayo Adebanjo, and George Obiozor, the President-General, Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide.

Read the full statement below.

ATIKU’S VP NOMINATION: YOU ARE A TRAITOR, SOUTHERN, MIDDLE BELT LEADERS BERATE GOVERNOR OKOWA

STATEMENT BY SOUTHERN & MIDDLE BELT LEADERS’ FORUM, SMBLF (17–06–2022)

The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) has berated the Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa for accepting his nomination as Vice Presidential Candidate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming 2023 general elections. It is unspeakable and quite disappointing that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who is currently Chairman of the South-South Governors’ Forum, and a native of Owa-Alero in Ika North-East Local Government Area (one of the Igbo-speaking areas) of Delta State, would exhibit such barefaced unreliability.

It bears recalling that the 17 Governors of the Southern States of Nigeria, both of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), under the Chairmanship of the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, met in Asaba, the capital of Delta State on May 11, 2021, and took far-reaching decisions, including that, based on the principles of fairness, equity and justice, the presidency should rotate to the south, at the end of the statutory eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure. And this very Governor Okowa was the host of that historic meeting. The Southern Governors later met again in Lagos, on July 5, where they reaffirmed their decision, and again in Enugu, on September 16, to restate the call that the presidency should rotate to the south in 2023.

It is essential to underline that the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF), applauded the meeting of the governors, given its significant representation and the gravity of the outcome; we followed up and issued a similar statement after our meeting in Abuja on the 30th of May 2021, asking that the presidency should rotate to the south. And went further, on several other occasions, to caution political stakeholders from the South, including serving and former governors, ministers, senators, etcetera, not to, on any account, allow themselves to be appointed or nominated as running mate to any presidential candidate, if the presidency is not zoned to the south and that we will work against such person or persons.

It is, therefore, most unfortunate that the Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa who should know better, accepted his appointment as running mate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. We do not have anything personal against Ifeanyi Okowo but his action is treacherous and tantamount to a despicable pawning of the political future of the people of Southern Nigeria.

Sadly, it is also now common knowledge that he spent resources belonging to the government and people of Delta state, to lobby for the position, extensively. And that explains why he never made any statement when his party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), thoughtlessly jettisoned the zoning principle, which has become established as a norm and an intrinsic part of the political trajectory.

It is difficult to fathom how a political party can claim to be on a supposed “rescue mission” with such false footings of unfairness, injustice, duplicity and gross insensitivity to national outlook.

It is regrettable that while most of Governor Okowa’s southern and northern counterparts have maintained gallant, patriotic deference to the unity and peace of the country, above blinkered political considerations, by their resolute stance on the rotation of the presidency to the south in 2023, Governor Ifeanyi Okiwa, the Chairman of the South-South Governors’ Forum, of all people, would gullibly and slavishly capitulated to the bonbon of absurdity. Thus, acceding to a situation whereby, one person rules for eight years and hands over to another of his stock, in a country of at least 360 ethnic groups. What a shame!

The people of southern Nigeria chimed at Asaba, Lagos, Enugu, Uyo, Port Harcourt, Umuahia, and Abuja, continuously on the zoning of the presidency and that another northern presidency after the eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari would be injurious to the unity and peace of the country.

Governor Okowa has, by his action, betrayed the trust reposed on him by his colleagues; the southern governors, the entire good people of southern Nigeria and all well-meaning Nigerians. He has made himself persona non grata, not only, with SMBLF but all citizens who treasure our oneness and hopes of a more united and peaceful Nigeria.

We, therefore, reject Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and his Vice Presidency, and leave him to his lot, but let the world know that this is a betrayal of the highest order.

And that this is not a matter of loyalty to one’s political party, but rather a greedy, parochial and unpatriotic action, committed against the general interest of his State, Delta state, the Niger Delta region, and Southern Nigeria. It is, certainly, also not in the interest of the nation at large.

We commend the patriotism of all Nigerians who cherish our unity and progress as a country and further urge all such Nigerians; in the North and the South; young and mature, the high and mighty; irrespective of religion and tribe, to remain steadfast on the centrality of the presidency to rotating to the South in 2023, in the national interest.

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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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