The governor of Delta state, Ifeanyi Okowa, has emerged as the running mate to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar. The presidential flag bearer, Atiku, personally announced Okowa as his running mate on Thursday, June 16, in Abuja.
Following the announcement, Okowa will thereafter be screened by a committee already setup for that purpose. Until early Thursday morning, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state had been tipped to emerge the vice-presidential candidate of the opposition party. Wike was reported to have been recommended for the vice-presidential slot by the PDP selection committee. The governor of Rivers state Wike had scored 237 against the 371 delegate votes at the PDP presidential primary secured by Atiku, who won the party ticket.
It was gathered that Governor Wike’s recommendation did not sit well with many leaders of the PDP. The leaders reportedly felt that the Rivers state governor is not suitable for a position that places him a heartbeat away from the presidency. A number of party chieftains raised concerns about the governor’s temperament, his perceived dictatorial tendencies and his propensity for picking fights even with key allies. On the other hand, some PDP leaders reportedly argued that Governor Okowa possessed a better intellectual bent and would bring better value to governance at the federal level if the ticket is eventually elected by Nigerians.
Atiku was reported to have shared their concerns and turned his attention to Governor Okowa who was reported to have been his initial favourite for the position.